Behind The Thorns (Kire Trilogy)

~ Z ~

Black Jacket
Sep 3, 2015
The Cosmos~!
Just a bit of a heads up. If I ever change something I'll be sure to post about in in this thread. This story will be a long one if I really want to get everything through. Those of you familiar with Kire might enjoy this story and how he truly acts. I'll be sure to put as much detail as I can and hope that you all enjoy this story. I'll try to put one chapter up every week or so.


The sun’s rays slapped Kire’s face as he slept on the hard mattress. The man grumbled at the annoying pester of light that cracked through the shutters of his broken window. He lazily sat up from his slumber and scratched his bare chest, the bed sheets falling on the floor while he stretched. Letting out a loud yawn, he jumped out of bed and slipped into a very rundown bathroom. He barely kept his eyes opened while he did his business. The small apartment he hid himself in wasn’t anything special. It was very old due to how the wall paint chipped off. No one lived in this apartment for several years and since then, no one decided to update it. Inside it was a single bed and desk along with many pieces of scrap metal and other things considered to be useless junk. Scattered throughout the room were several schematics that all have yet to be finished. Some things in the room seemed out of place; a digital clock with a built-in alarm rested on the desk. It looked as if it was made completely by scratch and almost futuristic by design. The clock was a black sleek color and the blue numbers flashed were the Roman numerals of X and L. Behind the clock was the full view of the gears and scraps at work, all of which were moving and ticking in absolute perfect unison. On the top rested a flat, solid black panel that was connected to several wires on the back of the clock. The clock was solar powered by basic objects and everyday scraps.
                Kire lazily dragged himself out of the bathroom and moved the window by the desk and moved the blinds to allow more sunlight to enter. He glanced down at the clock and rubbed his eyes. He groaned at how early it was.

                “Ugh, 10:50? I thought it was a lot later than that…” Kire yawned again. “Better get goin’ before all the rich folk leave.”

                Kire picked up a piece of glass from the desk and checked himself in his tiny mirror. His autumn red hair was messy and looked unable to tame. Opening a drawer on the desk, he dug through the many gizmos he had until he found a comb. Combing his tangled hair to how he usually has it, the final touch was the bandana he cherished so much. Opening another drawer, he pulled out an old looking bandana that was black with green dots. The fabric had holes in it which allowed Kire’s hair to slip right through and spike out. Regardless of how old and battered it was, Kire refused to throw it away for reasons unknown. The man walked to the closet and dug for a clean shirt and pair of pants. Slipping into a white tank top and loose fitting cargo pants with many pockets, the man was ready to go. He slipped on some black socks, his boots and swiped his keys and watch that he made from the desk, heading right to the door. He was still half asleep but his stomach is what kept him moving. Locking the door behind him, he pocketed his keys and headed off to a restaurant he was very familiar with. He had an iconic smile on his face, one of which some people have come to known very well.

                The city was booming and many rich business men and woman were heading to eat some breakfast in the many fancy restaurants that littered the streets. With the many entitled money makers on one side of the city lay the troubled youth and deficit community on the other. One side rich, the other poor. Kire was familiar with both and knew these streets well. He did what he could to eat and survive another day even if it meant conning people; however, Kire seemed to most aim towards the rich. Kire stepped into a lavish restaurant with several businessmen people eating with chatting amongst each other. The food smelled as good as it looked. Kire began to search for a person who seemed to be eating a big breakfast. He locked his eyes on a man sitting all by himself, feasting on a big breakfast, even for him. Kire slipped by the crowd and any waitresses and casually sat himself across from the man. The man, around his mid-40s, was quite fit, even buff for his age. He wore a suit and seemed rather comfortable in it than most people. When Kire sat before him, he eyed him suspiciously due to that infamous smile of his.

                “Good mornin’ sir, I hope you don’t mind if I take a seat here, right?” Kire offered a chuckle. “I am wonderin’ if you are lookin’ for someone who can work for you.”

                “I’m sorry young man, I am not looking for someone right now.” The man said.

                “Ah, I see. What a shame too, I was hopin’ that my skills would interest you.” Kire lifted his hand to call over a waitress. The worker quickly rushed over to Kire’s side. “Excuse me darlin’, I would like to have exactly everythin’ he’s having’, it looks very enticing. Separate tab of course.”

                “Yes sir. Would you like anything to drink?” The waitress smiled and jotted down Kire’s order.

                “Just hand me a bottle of water darlin’.” Kire winked to the young lady.

                “Alright sir.” The blondie blushed slightly before walking off with Kire’s order.

                “What skills do you possess that would get me to hire you?” The man spoke once the waitress left. “You are rather confident for someone who looks rather rubbish.”

                “Well I assure you that my skills will make you think less of my handsome looks and more on how it will benefit you. Allow me to show you…” Kire dug in his pocket and pulled out the watch he made. It looked very well polished and refine despite being made from scraps. “This is a watch I made myself. It’s rather impressive, no?”

                “Well…” The man stared at the watch Kire made and seemed a lack of interest for the most part. “I’m impressed you made a watch but this doesn’t look to be anything I would buy, let alone sell.”

                “Ah, don’t let its feeble appearance fool you, it’s got a rather unique secret.” Kire smirked before turning the watch over and removing the back plating that protected the insides. Inside the watch was almost entirely empty with the exception of a red chip about the size of a fingernail. He tapped at the chip and removed it from the watch and held it in his palm. “Not only does this watch have space to hide secret items but this chip is a tracking device.”

                “A tracking device?” The man’s interest was piqued slightly. “How can it track people from just the watch alone? Sounds a bit…farfetched to me.”

                “The watch is wired to follow the actions of this chip for an hour for a range that’s about a city block. It displays the location of the chip with a simple touch of a button.” Kire tapped a button on the left side of the watch and the digital numbers switched to a small screen of an aerial view of where they were located in. It zoomed in on the restaurant they were in.

                “How am I so sure this will work?” The man’s voice quivered.

                “Your food is here!” The waitress came back with the order Kire placed. “I hope you both will enjoy your food!”

                “Thank you darlin’.” Kire smiled. “Can you please bring me the check for my food?”

                “Absolutely!” The young waitress turned around and headed to the register. At that moment, Kire flicked the chip to the girl and it latched itself effortlessly on her shirt.

                “It’s got Velcro on both sides so it’ll latch to any sort of fabric.” Kire held up the watch to the man showing him a blinking white dot that moved around the restaurant. Every move the dot made was being made entirely by the girl. The man’s eyes widen in disbelief. “See? You can trust lil’ ol’ me. I don’t tell lies.”

                “A-Amazing… H-How did you come up with this technology?!” The man watched the girl return and hand Kire his check for the food.

                “Hold on darlin’, you got something on your shirt.” Kire said while he plucked the chip from the blushing waitress. She smiled and went back to work. Kire smirked to the man. “It’s rather easy but I rather not say my all secrets in a public place, I’m sure you understand, right?”

                “Yes, we can’t have any spying ears.” The man whispered. “This is incredible. Perhaps I do want you in my company. Please, tell me your name!”

                “Kire, Kire Rebbel.” He stuffed his face with food.

                “Please, tell me more about yourself, I believe you’ve managed to catch my interest, Mr. Rebbel.”

                “Right. Well, I make things using the junk that other people don’t use. Basically, I make things almost entirely out of scratch.” He munched loudly, taking loud gulps from his water. He took occasional pauses to swallow before he returned to answering the man. “The only thing I can say about the watch is that it was made using an older model of a watch I found. I just took out the insides, pushed everything to the side and made room for a chip. The internal battery of the watch was pressed against the backdrop and I simply put a very thin slice of metal to keep it from moving. That explains why the top of the watch is a little protruded from the base.” Kire pointed with the fork. “You can even use the extra space to hide stuff. Think of it like a secret compartment.”

                “This is astonishing Mr. Rebbel. Please allow me to inform my coworkers about this amazing find. Please, let me to take this watch from you to show your magnificent work to my coworkers.”

                “Ah, y’see, I only have one as of right now.” Kire said finishing the last bits of food he had. “I would love to but I don’t wish for it to break. It’s rather fragile…”

                “Oh, I see. Well, how can I keep in contact with you?”

                “Hmmm, Oh, I know.” Kire pointed at his tab. “Just write your name down and tell me where you work. I’ll pass by the company and ask for your name. Don’t worry, I’ll ask the waitress to give me a copy. I don’t have anythin’ else to write on so this will have to do.”

                “That’s quite alright.” The man held out a pen and wrote his name down on the tab. “I work in the building right across from here. Nicestone Co. is what it’s called. This will boost our sales by drastic measures!”

                “Totally, the rich keep getting’ richer, huh?” Kire laughed while putting the tab in his pocket.

                “Absolutely, haha! The high class must keep everything in order as we always have. It’s a big responsibility but with your help you’ll make everything a million times easy. Well, easy for us. Haha!”

                “I can’t wait.” Kire frowned in disgust before checking his watch. “Oh hey, look at the time! I’m sorry sir, but I have to get goin’. It was a pleasure to talk to you and thank you for this opportunity. I gotta meet up with someone and I’m running a bit late! I’ll be sure to swing by your place and give you a call.”

                Kire rose from his seat and shook the man’s hand with a cocky smile. He walked away from the man and rolled his green eyes, obviously happy to free himself from his presence. He headed to the register and waited for the cute waitress to return. When she finally did, she eyed Kire lovingly and fixed her apron. Kire looked at her from head to toe and held up the tab he pulled from his pocket. Knowing this girl had a small attraction to him, he winked at her again which made her wiggle in her spot.

                “Hey there darlin’. Listen, the kind gentleman over there has offered to pay for my food.” Kire held up the signed tab and placed it on the table near the register. “He said that you add this to his tab. He even signed it in case you couldn’t put it on his bill or didn’t believe me.”

                “Oh! How very nice of him! Giving a handsome man like you a free meal.” The woman chuckled. “No problem, I’ll just put your meal on his tab. I hope he knows how much he’s going to pay.”

                “Nah, I wouldn’t worry so much…” Kire said glancing at the man. “He’s rich, what’s payin’ a little extra gonna do to him?”

                “Ah, that makes sense, yes.”

                “Well, I must be goin’ darlin’, I gotta be somewhere.” Kire said as he plucked a toothpick from a dispenser and walked casually out the door, waving to the pretty girl. Once he was out, he let out a loud burp from a full stomach, flicking the toothpick in his mouth. “Greed sure has its way, huh? Whatever, it paid for my meal so it ain’t all bad. Maybe later, I should try my wits on the new seafood joint. I haven’t had a nice taste of the ocean in a long time.” The man chuckled to himself as he disappeared within the crowd of people.

This will be posted in the Critic Section when I add more chapters. Text above is subject to change.

This one is kinda long so I apologize. 

Kire meets a girl in a fancy restaurant but everything doesn't turn out how he expected. His charm doesn't seem to work and he gets a very hard realization from it. The women keeps Kire on his toes and it's irritating to him. How will Kire play his cards in this situation?  


As the day grew darker, Kire was seen in an alleyway picking up his favorite scraps and placing them in a bucket. He hummed to himself and took a peek inside the bucket; nodding to himself, he seemed satisfied with what he collected: metal pieces, wires, used appliances, and pieces of much larger appliances. The man continued to walk down the alleyway until he reached the emergency safety ladders of the apartment complex he lived on. Next to the escape rested a dangling rope from what looked to be part of a pulley system Kire made to lift things to his room. He tied one end of the rope on the bucket’s handle and tugged on it to make sure it was strong enough to lift the load. The man nodded and hopped on the ladder, climbing his way to the top where his window was located. The keys he had weren’t just for the front door but the shutters he put over his broken window. Jingling around the lock, he opened his shutters and jumped inside. He pulled on the rope by his window and tugged his cargo into his room.

                “Well, I should have enough parts to finish building my laptop.” Kire said while tossing the bucket to the corner. He yawned heavily. “Or rather, upgrade it to something better. I should take a shower before heading out to that seafood joint…”

                Kire returned the rope on the pulley to how he was before and closed his shutters, locking them tight. He headed to the bathroom where he threw his clothes off and let them lay on the floor. He turned on the shower and stared at himself on the small piece of glass he calls a mirror. He only saw half of his face and grimaced. Placing the glass down, he removed his bandana and placed it on the table in the other room. He dug his fingers through his hair and even yanked at it. He stared up at the ceiling and let out a depressed sigh. He stood there silently, listening to the water from the shower hit against the floor. For a moment, that was the only thing he could hear. While the shower heated up Kire took this moment to think to himself and everything he’s done so far.

                “The high class must keep everythin’ in order eh?” Kire closed his eyes, finally releasing his hair and letting his arm fall to his side. “Sounds like a load of horseshit to me; some people would kill to be in his shoes. Bet that bastard never even saw the other side of the city. Some order…”

                Kire scoffed and stared at his naked body while placing a hand on the scar over his lip. He couldn’t help but snicker, remembering how he got the scar in the first place. Shaking his head from the thought he entered the now hot shower. He let out a groan of pleasure, loving the feel of a sizzling shower. While he cleaned himself, he sang. His singing voice was terrible, to say the least. He took a small towel and applied his usual body wash and started to scrub every inch of his body. While he cleaned, he couldn’t shake the thought about his scar from his head. He watched the soap suds from his body slither down his fit body and fall in the drain. He sighed, unable to keep his usual smile. He continued to wash himself down.

                “This mouth gets me in a lot of trouble…” He said quietly to himself. “Good thing scars tell me not to make the same mistake twice. But damn, they sure as hell leave a wound deeper than what it really is. Jesus, I really gotta stop thinkin’ so much about my problems, I sound like a pretentious child. Kinda reminds me of the goonies that gave me this scar. Scared to hear someone with a different mindset and go running for backup when shit gets heated. Heh, maybe this scar wasn’t all that bad after all.”

                Kire took a deep breath only to let out a forced laugh. He still seemed troubled but it refused to let it bother him any longer. He finished his time in the shower and dried himself off, letting himself stay naked for a while. He jumbled about through the clothes in his closet and picked out his favorite casino boxers. He felt as if everyday he was taking a gamble so he felt like he should dress a bit accordingly, especially for today. By the time Kire was dressed, he looked no different than what he did this morning. Examining himself on his tiny piece of glass, he licked his teeth and felt ready to go try his luck in a new restaurant. Taking a hold of his bandana and keys he was out the door.

                The city at night was a bit different. Kire saw many people who were taken out to dates and proclaim their love to one another. He always felt a warmness in his body with every proposal he saw in these fancy and magnificent restaurants. He wondered if such an event will happen in the place he was heading to but he doubted it. With the rumors thrown about, he heard that the new place was located near the edge of the city, close to the beach. It would be quite a walk for him but he didn’t mind it. As he walked, he stared at the rich slip into buildings and the poor beg for mercy. One thing that always kept him on his toes were the various shady figures looming between the cracks of buildings and other establishments. Those were the people that hunt both rich and poor for only selfish reasons. It wasn’t about survival or trying to live through another day; it was all so nefarious. Kire was lucky to not have seen so many of them roaming the streets but he knew that they will all come out later tonight. When they do, he would have to be even more careful since he usually walked alone.

                With his long walk, he finally reached the new restaurant called: The Passionate Crab Shack. The name alone made Kire retort in laughter. He took a whiff of the juicy aroma of seafood and easily snuck his way inside. The inside seemed a lot bigger than the outside, it even had a second floor for a balcony view of the beach. The smell caused Kire’s mouth to salivate and he hurried on upstairs only to be stopped by an elegant looking waiter who seemed to think a bit too highly of himself. He eyed Kire suspiciously and held out his hand.

                “Invitation please.” The man ordered.

                “Invitation?” Kire questioned.

                “Yes, you need an invitation to enter the private floor. This is a place where only people who paid good money get in to eat the finest seafood delicacies in the world. A mere sloppy looking bum like yourself couldn’t possibly afford to even eat a single appetizer in our embellished restau—“

                “Aw shucks!” Kire began to pat his pockets, acting as if he was looking for the invitation. “I must’ve left it in the car… I’ll head right back to get it.” Kire laughed innocently before bowing his head to the waiter and rushing down the stairs. Once out of sight from the man, he angrily rolled his eyes. “The guy thinks he’s licensed for power because he’s got a penguin suit on. He looks more like a soggy Oreo. Tsk, where am I gonna get an invitation? Doubt anyone has one to spare and the bottom floor is packed…”

                Kire eyed people entering and leaving a bathroom inside the restaurant and a smirk rose across his lips. He made his way through the crowd and stood specifically by the woman’s restroom. He removed his bandana and fixed his hair slightly. Licking his thumb, he flattened his eyebrows and straightened his back. He stood patiently by the door with his arms behind his back. A pair of middle-aged women approached the bathroom before being stopped by Kire. With his rather smooth look, the woman giggled to themselves. When Kire spoke, he made sure to sound as elegant and handsome as possible. He seemed to be taking this more like a game than anything else and enjoyed it more than he should.

                “Excuse me young ladies,” Kire lied. “I would kindly hold on to any invitations you have on your person.”

                “Oh?” One of the women replied. “And why is that?”

                “Well it is but a rule here in this lavish establishment.” Kire replied with a smile. He saw the old bags blush. “We’ve been having a common problem in our first few days of business and that’s counterfeit invitations. Any mark, smudge, or impurity will make us suspect you of a false invitation.”

                “Oh my, how atrocious!” The second lady gasped. “How very crude for some people to try and tarnish a new restaurant’s fine name. But might I ask a question?”

                “Why of course kind Dame.”

                “Why are you dressed so… meagerly? You look penniless! You look nothing like the waiters or waitresses working here.”

                “Ahaha! You’re the millionth person to ask me this question.” Kire slicked his hair back slightly, modeling his body to the two prehistoric bones before him. He specifically showed off his multi-pocket pants. “You see, I use the several pockets to protect each invitation individually from any wet hands, you know, to prevent any false counterfeit claims. As for my shirt, well, the manager said I should make the ladies gossip about something once they see me. By the look in your eyes, I believe he might have been on to something.” Kire offered his infamous wink, nearly laughing at how the two fanned themselves at his spicy appearance. “I hope that clears up any misguidance you might have?”

                “O-Oh yes! My, you sure are a tasty one, aren’t you? Perhaps I can eat you instead of the fine cuisine offered here.” The woman chuckled. Kire nearly gaged. Both women pulled out their invitations and handed them to Kire which he put in his pocket seductively. The women laughed before gently allowing their hands to feel upon Kire’s chest. “We’ll be sure to take our time in the restroom thinking about all the inviting things we might do to you when we return.”

                “E-Ehee… Please take as long as you need to.” Kire struggled to say. Once the women disappeared through the doors, Kire felt himself gag at the last remake they said. He shook his head and quivered. “Yeesh, that was enough to traumatize even the hardest of soldiers.” Kire had an extra invitation that he didn’t need so he decided to look for someone to give it to. A lone man caught his attention. “Hey, s’cuse me buddy.”

                “Huh? Me?” The man turned around only to have Kire slap the spare invitation on his chest.

                “Take it, it’s yours now.” Kire said.

                “Hey! W-What? Why?”

                “My wife decided to leave me so you can take my ticket! I don’t need her anymore anyways!” He lied to the man and huffed, trying to get himself angry. “Maybe the jerk she left me for can buy the damn place! Anyways, have fun buddy, second floor is all yours!”

                While the man was left in confusion, Kire rushed off in a tantrum, trying his best to give a nice performance. As long as he escaped the view of the man, he felt like he was in the free zone. Kire stood by the wall and ruffled his hair to the style he usually likes it. Placing his trusted bandana on, he turned the corner and went upstairs with a snarky look on his face. The same waiter who dispatched Kire was still there and he didn’t seem at all happy when Kire returned. He grumbled but kept his witty remarks on standby. Just like before, he held out his hand and enticed Kire to hand him the invitation.

                “Invitation please…” The man said with a low and annoyed attitude.

                “Right here.” Kire placed the invitation in the man’s hand gingerly, almost enjoying the look of disbelief on his face. “You look as if you didn’t believe I can afford such an invitation.”

                “Well, errm…” The man began to sweat. “P-Pardon my lack of judgement. P-Please, go on right ahead.” The waiter moved out of Kire’s way, extending his arm in welcome.

                Kire smiled to him but stopped to tap his fingers on the man’s chest. Kire narrowed his green eyes.

                “And just so you know, I’m so rich that I can dress however the fuck I want.” Kire said in a whisper. “I can buy you and anything you own in my sleep, so keep your mouth shut.”

                Kire smirked sadistically before giving the man’s cheek a gentle tap to assert his dominance over him. He walked away and tried to search for a person who was by themselves. The second floor was just as packed as the first one but he managed to catch a lone woman sitting by herself near the window. She looked bored and Kire knew she would be an easy target. She was a wearing a large white beach hat with a pink flower on the side. Her long black hair lazily flung behind her shoulders and her sundress exposed the fair and silky skin she had. A real pearl necklace by her neck and a diamond earrings hung by her ears. She kept one leg crossed over the other while he seemed to patiently wait for food. To say she was beautiful was a vast understatement. She gazed silently out the window, tapping her fingers against the table. Kire seemed more than happy to talk to a gorgeous lady, especially after he got through with the devastating moment with the old women. He slipped past the tables and waiters to slyly make his way to the lone princess. He sat down right across from her and smiled. The same trick he pulled yesterday he attempted to put today.

                “Why hello there, fair maiden.” Kire said with passion in his voice. “Why must a sight like yourself sit all alone in an elegant place like this?”

                “I’m waiting for my appetizers.” She said with an annoyed voice. “I was supposed to meet with my fiancé but he called me saying he was ‘busy.’ He claims he’s always busy but he’s not a good liar…”

                “Ah, I’m sorry to hear that. I hope you don’t mind sharing your time with a man like me?”

                “If you don’t bore me, I suppose so…” She sighed.

                “Please, a rose like yourself shouldn’t look so withered. A beautiful woman like you should be enjoying herself at every moment’s wake. I’m sure that— “

                “Be careful with the roses you pluck because some of them can have thorns.” The woman butted in. “And cut the romantic talk, I’m not some girl you can smooch over with sweet talk. I have more dignity than that.”

                “Errm, yes, pardon me.” Kire was taken back by the female and cleared his throat. He glanced at the rather marvelous view of the beach at night. “It’s a nice view from up here, isn’t it?”

                “I guess so.” She shrugged.

                Kire eyed the woman with annoyance and wondered what made her in such a bad mood. His charm usually worked on most women and when it didn’t, his words always did. He almost seemed to regret sitting next to such a stubborn lady. As soon as Kire was about to speak, a waiter came by the table and placed a large plate of fresh oysters between the two. He glanced at Kire and held up his notepad. He turned to the woman first and spoke.

                “Are we ready to order, fine maiden?”

                “Yeah. Uhh, I’ll have the Honey Salmon with the bucket of crabs on the side. Is the salmon served with fresh lobster tail and rice?” She questioned.

                “Yes. You can order one more side if it fancies you.”

                “Add an order of the most expensive shrimp cocktail.”

                “Yes ma’am.” The man turned to Kire. “And what about you fine sir?”

                “I’ll just have what she’s havin’, cocktail included. Add a bottle of wine to my tab.” Kire replied.

                “Yes sir.” The waiter placed down the orders and left the two.

                Kire glanced at the appetizers and felt his mouth water at the sight of the oysters. Lemon wedges and other condiments to the side. He wanted to take a bite so bad but knew that it wasn’t his food. He watched the woman take a hold of the shellfish and look over at him with large brown eyes. She then rolled them before moving some of the food over to Kire’s side of the plate. Kire chuckled to himself with caused the girl to raise a brow.

                “What’s so funny?” She said, narrowing her eyes.

                “Oh, nothing really. I must’ve looked really desperate if you offered me some of your appetizers.” Kire took a hold of one oyster and ate it in one swipe.

                “You did, that’s why I gave you some so you don’t starve to death before the food gets here.” She giggled.

                “H-How thoughtful of you…” Kire said with a bit of annoyance. “Anyways, I heard that oysters were an aphrodisiac. They say that any two who share these are destined to cross paths once more. Perhaps it is fate that lead me here to you?”

                “Oh boy, how lucky am I to have met a womanizer as amazing as you?” The girl said very sarcastically. “Must be the luckiest girl in the world…”

                “Well, I think you’re very spicy but might I ask for just a tad bit less spice? I’m only human, after all.” Kire faked a smile. “By the way, my name is Kire, Kire Rebbel. What may yours be?”

                The woman eyed him, almost as if she heard the name before but her gaze turned back to the shellfish. “Evelyn. Evelyn Nicestone.”

                “Yeah, you’re anything but ‘nice’” Kire grumbled to himself with a mouth full of oyster.

                “Excuse me?”

                “Oh, nothing, nothing. I just said that these are very good oysters.” Kire slurped up another and spoke with a full mouth. “Especially with the lemon. Try it out.”

                Evelyn looked at the man and picked up an oyster, plucking it with the small fork offered. Hearing Kire’s chuckle seemed to annoy her and she looked at him, gritting her teeth.

                “What’s so funny?”

                “You’re eating the oyster wrong.” Kire held up another oyster and added a touch of lemon before slurping it out of the shell. He looked at Evelyn with a cocky smile.

                “I don’t need you to tell me how to eat. I always eat oysters like this.” Evelyn snarled.

                “Hmph, well I hope you enjoy eating shellfish the wrong way.” Kire scoffed, unable to tolerate her any longer.

                “Yeah, the same way you enjoy dressing like a fool.” She lashed back with a smile.

                “Oh, now we have a comedian, huh?” Kire placed a hand on the table, making an angry smile

                “Yeah, the man dressed like a clown before me.”

                “Why you little—“ Kire was cut off by the waiter clearing his throat and returning with their orders.

                Both bickering adults looked up at unison to the waiter and composed themselves to avoid questions. The waiter didn’t seem to want to ask any sort of question, fearing that the two might lash out at him next. He placed down each plate of food next to their owner and then placed two wine glasses before them. He held up the bottle of wine Kire ordered and popped the cork off, filling Kire’s glass more than halfway. He turned to Evelyn and leaned the bottle in her direction.

                “Would you care for some wine, ma’am?” He asked.

                “Yes, thank you.”

                The waiter filled Evelyn’s glass to the same amount as Kire. He smiled to the two and picked up the tray he carried the food in. Kire gently tugged at the man’s shoulder and spoke to him with a full mouth.

                “S’cuse me. Can ya’ give me the check and a copy of the check? I like to keep tabs of my expenses.”

                “Certainly.” The waiter nodded and disappeared within the crowd.

                Evelyn watched how Kire ate and it confused her. He ate as if he never had a meal in his life. As much as Kire tried to eat like a refined and uptight rich person, he couldn’t help but stuff his mouth with food he’ll probably never eat again. It made Evelyn curious but as soon as Kire pulled a crab leg from a bucket, he paused for a second, trying to figure out how to eat it. First he tried nibbling the tip then biting the joints but nothing worked for him. Evelyn smiled at his feeble attempts to eat crab and eventually her smile grew into a teasing laugh. Kire stopped his attempts to eat the crab leg and grew annoyed at her mocking of him. Just like her, Kire questioned her intentions. As Kire spoke to Evelyn, the waiter returned with Kire’s tab and a copy of it.

                “What’s so funny?” He growled.

                “You talk about how I eat oysters wrong yet you don’t even know how to eat crab!” Evelyn cackled. “You eat like you’ve lived in the streets for years!”

                “Look who suddenly knows all about food etiquette.” Kire rolled his eyes and placed one check facing him and the other next to Evelyn. He spoke again, trying to get her distracted. “Alright Crab Leg expert, tell me how to eat crab.”

                “You must not have a lot of money if you don’t even know how to eat crab.” Evelyn said superiorly. “But I suppose I can teach a poor man like you. Pay attention.”

                While Evelyn showed off her elegant eating skills, Kire opened one of his pockets to pull out a fancy looking fountain pen and rested it on his leg. It was obvious that Kire wasn’t interested but he couldn’t get his gaze off the woman. Even Kire seemed to be taken back at how beautiful she is despite having a bad attitude problem. He didn’t seem to pin it all entirely on her however; he assumed she was just angry that her fiancé didn’t arrive to meet her. He almost felt bad for her. Regardless of her reasoning, Kire would be more than happy to get away from her. Once Evelyn finished her class of how to eat crab legs, Kire copied her and he never felt such a delicious flavor melt in his mouth. Breaking each leg joint, he sucked up the meat while reaching out for another leg at the same time. The more Kire ate, the more he forgot to keep up his act. Evelyn, however, seemed more interested in belittling him on how poor he was.

                “Wow, you must be even poorer than I thought. You stuff crab in your mouth as if it were some snack.” She snickered. “I bet this is all an act and you’re trying to con me. Do you think I’m that stupid?”

                “Yeah, I do, actually.” Kire said finishing his last crab leg. He didn’t even bat an eye as he spoke to her.

                “W-What?!” Evelyn’s empowered demeanor quickly turned to that of a pouty child. “Why’s that?!”

                “For you to actually think a man is poor based on his eating habits and the way he’s dressed speaks a lot about you. You must be very dumb and naïve to propose such childish assumptions.” He offered an emerald glare to Evelyn who shifted slightly in her seat. “You must be one of those rich girls whose life is managed by someone else because you aren’t allowed to make adult choices. You’re a sad case indeed… Honestly, I’m offended for you to think I’m some sort of con artist trying to scam you.” Kire pulled the fountain pen from his lap and signed the copy of his tab. He tried to bat Evelyn off as some sort of fly, trying to purposely anger her.

                “You think you know everything huh?!” Evelyn spoke loudly. Kire still didn’t pay attention to her tantrum which annoyed her even more. Her cheeks puffed. “I-I bet you can’t even pay your own check without my help!”

                “Oh yeah? Is that a challenge?” Kire smirked. He played along with her emotions. His voice rose like hers. “Alright then! Sign your check and I’ll pay both of our bills! How’s that sound, huh?!” Kire handed Evelyn his fountain pen and she quickly swiped it angrily from his hand. She signed the check and handed it back to him, not realizing that it was the same tab Kire’s order was placed on.

                “Hmph, try not to go bankrupt. If you do, I’ll be sure to buy your stuff from the flea market!” Evelyn laughed. She grinned devilishly to Kire and waved him off like a dog. When Kire walked off from range, she leaned back on her chair. She giggled to herself and ate her food like a queen, feeling as if she conned the conman. “Well, that sure was easy. I guess I got a free meal and that fool was none the wiser. I guess he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was and he let his ego get the best of him. However, he must have a lot of money if he boldly paid off both our meals. I guess he did have some truth behind him after all.”

                Kire walked away from the scene he and Evelyn played and turned to face the register. He smirked at having fooled Evelyn into signing his tab instead of hers. He crumpled up his copy of the check and eyed the waiter behind the register. Ironically enough, it was the same fool who stopped him by the stairs. Kire seemed more than happy about how his day was going so far, despite his issue with Evelyn. He leaned on the counter the register was on and smiled coyly to the man who was not happy to meet with Kire again. The man began to sweat but his kept his smug face and composure in his attempts to try and intimidate Kire. Kire, however, rose a brow at how he tried to intimidate him but as soon as he spoke, the man trembled slightly.

                “Well, didn’t think we would meet again.” Kire chuckled. “But anyways… The beautiful young maiden sitting by the window has offered to pay for my meal.”

                “Hah! Do you take me for a fool? How do you expect me to believe such malarkey! Why would she pay for your meal? Do you have any proof?” The man stared at Kire as he pulled out a check signed by Evelyn. He quickly shut his mouth.

                “Let’s just say I know my way with words. A gorgeous woman like her was simply captivated by my charm…” Kire handed the check to the man. “But yeah, she said she’d pay for my meal so I guess my charm worked a bit too well. Perhaps I should come here more often?”

                “I rather you not…” The man grumbled and swiped the check from Kire’s hand. He typed something down on the register and then pinned the tab on a nail, confirming the addition. “There, I hope you’re happy.”

                “Trust me, I am.”

                Kire casually made his way back to Evelyn and sat down, eyeing her seductively. He chuckled to himself as Evelyn remained silent at how he paid for both their meals. He leaned his chin against his hand and stared out the balcony window at the marvelous beach before them. There was no talking between the two, almost as if there was a stalemate. Evelyn followed Kire’s eyes to the beach and stared at the full moon that rested over it. She felt a silly grin form on her face while she took a hold of the wine glass, swishing the little wine she had. For a moment, Evelyn almost felt bad for making fun of Kire and taunting him; all he wanted was to have a good time. She thought about how rude she was despite him just trying to have a normal conversation. A frown formed on her lips and she looked over to Kire, slowly sipping the last drops of her wine. She wanted to bring up a way to apologize to the man but her mind came up with a blank. Feeling like she took advantage of him, he cleared her throat and placed her wine glass down. She opened her mouth but no words came out. She didn’t know what to say at a time like this, especially when Kire was so focused on watching the beach. She stared out the balcony and finally realized what put Kire in such a trance. The scenery was absolutely beautiful, especially at night. The water sparkled like stars under the bright full moon. The sand was radiant and glimmered like diamonds when the water gently brushed over it. Few people were seen walking on its shores. The waves looked almost rhythmic and hypnotic by how they swayed across the horizon. Watching such a lovely sight seemed to put Evelyn at ease and she only wondered if Kire was thinking the same thing. As she was about to speak, Kire cut her off.

                “Well, I think I should be heading out. It’s gettin’ late and I got some important stuff to do.” Kire stretched his arms. “You should be headin’ home too, Evelyn. The city gets pretty dangerous ‘round night time.”

                “Oh, don’t worry about me! Papa is going to pick me up in about 15 minutes anyways.” She gave Kire a thumbs up. “Besides, I’m not as delicate as I look.”

                “I’ll take your word for that.” Kire rose from his seat and stretched once again. He rubbed his stomach indicating how full he was. “Well, I’ll see you later then.”

                “Wait! I uhh… I want to apologize to you.” Evelyn lowered her gaze to the floor. “I was very rude to you when all you wanted was just someone to talk to. I guess I let my bitter mood get the best of me and that was wrong. I sincerely apologize for my horrid actions.”

                “You don’t need to apologize.” Kire poured the last bit of wine from the bottle in Evelyn’s cup. “I think any woman who can talk back to me the way you did is pretty damn cool. You’re not some delicate flower, that’s for sure. You’re more like a Venus Fly Trap. But despite all that, I actually had a very nice time with you.”

                “Heh, I had a nice time with you too. Do you think we can meet up again tomorrow? Maybe we can have some lunch together, I’ll pay this time.”

                “E-Ehee… I don’t think I can. I’m currently on a business trip and I leave tomorrow morning.” Kire began to sweat a bit, trying his best to end the conversation as soon as possible. He knew that if he saw her again, she would know she got scammed. “I head back to…uhh, across the seas, back to my country.”

                “Oh… well, it was nice knowing you, Kire.” Evelyn said with a depressed tone she tried to hide. She rose to her feet and offered to shake Kire’s hand. “Well then, I hope that we can meet again someday.”

                Kire stared at her hand and took a tender hold of it. He shook it at first but then he brought her soft hand to his lips and gave it a kiss. He offered a sly look to Evelyn and bowed his head. Evelyn giggled and pulled her hand back. The look on her face was that of a child but she tried her best to hide it. Kire laughed to himself, knowing that at least whatever bothered her lifted away. Even when he was being hammered down by the woman from every angle, he still thought it would be a nice thing to make a lady feel nice when she’s gloomy. He knew what he did to trick her but he could at least give her a night worth remembering, even if it wasn’t for the best. Both smiled at each other until there was a loud yell from the other side of the floor. Both young adults perked up and Kire turned as pale as a ghost at the sight of the older woman he had tricked earlier pointing at him.

                “There! That’s the thief!” The woman screamed. “The one with the bandanna! He’s the one that stole my invitation! Apprehend him this instant!”

                “Heh, time for me to part, toots!” Kire quickly released Evelyn and offered a big cocky grin. He gave Evelyn a two-finger salute and dashed away.

                Kire jumped over tables, knocked over waiters, and stepped on several plates while he jumped tables. Chaos ensued on the second floor while Kire tried to find a way out. Along with the security and waiters trying to capture Kire, the civilians tried to take part in his capture. Within a couple of minutes of screaming, cursing, and food flinging, Kire made his way downstairs where he was tackled down by two large guards. He struggled to free himself but it was no use. The men held Kire by his shoulders, keeping him steady so he doesn’t kick and flail about as much. They pulled Kire to the entrance of the restaurant and took a swing at his face. Kire’s head flung back from the force but he manages to slip away from the guards and prepared to fight back. All the commotion created a crowd by the entrance and the people on the second floor were able to view the fight from the opposite balcony view. Evelyn rushed to the other side of the floor to get a full view of this fight. She was unable to hear the cursing or remarks made by Kire but she did notice his sinister smile and carefree vibe despite being outnumbered.

                Kire held his arms out in a defensive pose until he took a swing at one of the guards, slamming his fist against his jaw. The man took several steps back only to have his friend dash out to Kire, pressing his fist on his cheek. As the fight continued, Kire was pinned by one of the guards only to have the other one punch him repeatedly in the stomach and face. The old ladies cheered on the beating Kire got and finally, as soon as it happened, it ended. The guard holding on to Kire tossed him to the ground and took a kick at him. Everyone that was nearby was told to leave or continue eating and to ignore Kire. Evelyn watched the massive beat down Kire received and sighed. A thief deserves what they get and she rolled her eyes at the fight and punishment Kire got. She watched as Kire struggled to get back up on his feet. He placed a hand on his stomach and limped away from the place, screaming something that she couldn’t hear. Evelyn frowned at the pitiful sight he was left in but even she had no tolerance for thieves.

                Limping his way all the way back home, Kire slowly opened the door to his apartment and casually fall on his bed. He felt the immense pain of his beating swell all over his body and he knew that tomorrow would be even worse. He let out a groan of pain but seemed to love the feel of his hard mattress for once. He thought about the food and how he got away by scamming another person. He closed his eyes and thought about how unique Evelyn was. He chuckled at his thought and remembered the taste of crab, one that he might never have the privilege to eat ever again now that the restaurant knows his face. Regardless of how snotty Evelyn was, he genuinely had a nice time with her and never met another female like her. It annoyed and tickled him to a point. He opened his eyes and rolled on to his back, taking a deep breath.

                “That sure was a weird girl… Snobby lil’ bitch ain’t she?” Kire sighed. “Ain’t ever met a female like her. Jesus, I’d leave her ass too if I was her fiancé. Poor guy doesn’t know the devil he’s engaged to. Better keep an eye out tho’, if a girl like her sees me in the streets after I scammed her, she’d kill me for sure.” Kire paused for a moment and chuckled to himself. “But she sure was fine, I guess the fiancé’s reason for engagement wasn’t for her sparkling personality. Heh… lucky bastard.”
                 With his final words, he closed his eyes and fell into his painful slumber.
Another day passes by and Kire decides to spend the day in a park, wondering what he can do. While at the park he comes across someone familiar: Evelyn Nicestone. She remembers Kire from the day before and is not very happy with the stunt he pulled on her. What will Evelyn do to Kire and how will Kire's day end now that this feisty girl has caught on to his scams?


When the sun rose, Kire seemed more sleepy than usual. He performed his everyday routine and started up the shower. While that was heating up, he checked the time and it was just a quarter past noon. The man’s eyes widen slightly at how late he slept. Breakfast was already over and he’d have to wait a while before lunch or dinner is offered. He groaned at this inconvenience but there was nothing he could do right now. Yawning loudly, he slipped into the shower and thought about how he should spend his day. As the hot water poured against his body, he decided to head to the park to waste some time before he heads out to eat. Once he took his shower, he got dressed, put on his watch, took his keys, and left for the park. It took him a bit of a walk to reach the park but he was more than happy to have finally reached it. He fanned himself at how hot the day was and he walked by the outer edge of the small park. Not too far from the park was the market street where people of all over come to sell foods and goods. Maybe if Kire was lucky enough, he’ll pass by and snag a snack or two later. For the meanwhile, he decided to watch a session of a group of sexy girls doing their afternoon yoga. Taking a backseat, he watched on with much delight in his perverted eyes.

                As the day passed on, Kire sat on a park bench and gazed at the sky. He allowed his bored mind to wonder while he tried to decipher the shape of the clouds. He nearly fell asleep but he managed to shake himself out of it. He was about to take his leave until he stared at a woman from a distance. He narrowed his eyes, trying to get a better view of her. She was surrounded by a group of rich girls and possibly by some personal guards. He didn’t seem to pay much attention to the group but that one girl seemed oddly familiar to him. He shrugged it off when she walked away from the group with a few others, thinking it was just his mind playing tricks on him. He rose to his feet and thought about flexing his charm on the girls. Casually making his way to the females, he cleared his throat and immediately caught all their attention. Some of them were already swayed by his looks alone. Overconfident and arrogant, Kire spoke to the women in his Casanova voice. The ladies all laughed and seemed to be having a wonderful time enjoying Kire’s charisma until the small group of ladies returned and reunited. Suddenly, a voice called out directly at Kire.

                “It’s you!” A female furiously yelled. The voice seemed to ring out to Kire and when the woman pushed herself through her friends, the fear in Kire’s face became apparent. “You’re that guy who conned me!”

                “M-Me? I have no idea what you’re talkin’ ‘bout darlin’.” Kire said nervously. He stared at the female who had large sunglasses. “Besides, who are you?”

                “Don’t act like you don’t know, asshole!” The woman pulled her sunglasses away from her face and it was revealed to be the same girl from yesterday: Evelyn Nicestone. “You took me for a fool yesterday!”

                “Gwah! You’re that snobby bitch!” Kire’s eyes widen and he was very surprised that he would even meet her again. He took several steps back and felt his back press against the personal guards protecting the girls. “L-Listen, I’m sure we can talk it out…errm, what’s your name again? Helga? Olga?”

                “My name is Evelyn! And no, I don’t wanna talk with you! I want to handle things my own way!” Evelyn was held back by her group of friends, all of which were trying to calm her down.

The guards, however, towered over Kire and glared down at him from their pitch-black shades. One of them slowly cracked his neck and the other cracked his knuckles. They reached out to grab Kire but he managed to give them the slip and run off as fast as he can away from Evelyn. Noticing that Kire had run off, Evelyn grew angry and pushed herself free from her friends, sprinting right at Kire. The guards were trailing behind Evelyn but stopped when they realized there was no stopping her. The girls let out an annoyed groan.

“Get back here you coward!” Evelyn yelled. “Fight me like a man!”

This girl is fucking nuts! Kire thought to himself. She’s lost her damn mind!

As Kire ran he noticed that Evelyn was catching up to him a lot faster than he expected. His heart jumped to his throat and he picked up his pace. The market street was packed with many people and Kire thought he would be able to lose Evelyn within the crowd. Pushing and shoving his way through, many people were forced to the floor thanks to Kire’s roughhousing. As much as Kire dug his way in the crowd, Evelyn was still hot on his tail. Grinding his teeth, Kire kicked one of the stands that was selling fruits. Oranges, apples, pears, and other fruits rolled down the street, tripping Evelyn and slowing her down slightly. The female growled as she slowly lifted herself up and dusted off the fruit pulp from her new shorts. She glanced at the corner Kire rushed behind to and realized that he must have kept running. She didn’t want to lose him after she was so close to getting him. She scanned her area and noticed a small alleyway that cut the corner and went straight into the street next to the one she was on. This promptly forced Evelyn to her feet, pushing the few bystanders who tried to help her and rush into the narrow passage.

Kire dashed by the mass of people and moved to behind a building, attempting to stay hidden until Evelyn disappeared. He began to catch his breath and clean the sweat off his forehead. Everything happened so fast to Kire and he began to think that maybe conning and tricking this girl wasn’t such a good idea. Several minutes past and Kire leaned against the wall, he felt as if he finally lost Evelyn in the huge horde of people. Feeling relieved he was free from her, Kire discreetly slipped out from behind the building and back on the main street. Everything seemed perfect and Kire let out a sigh of comfort. He walked for a few minutes, eyeing the stands and the merchandise they are selling. This merchant was selling pots and pans along with other kitchenware. Without warning, there was a yell from behind Kire and as soon as he turned around, he felt a forceful tackle from behind. Both Kire and his attacker crashed into a poor merchant’s stand, breaking it to pieces. Pots and pans and other materials flew and scattered in the air. Kire’s senses were still jumbled from his fall but a hard punch to his face seemed to jog him back to reality. Pinning him to the floor was Evelyn, keeping him held down between her legs. Shocked and confused, Kire shoved the woman off him before she managed to hit him again. Rolling away when he had the chance, he quickly rose to his feet and swiped a frying pan from the floor, holding it in his weak attempt to protect himself. Evelyn jumped to her feet and eyed Kire like prey.

Almost in a split second, Evelyn dashed to Kire and swung her leg straight up in a style very similar to martial arts. The woman kept her arms up to protect her face and torso but she felt as if Kire wouldn’t fight back. Kire yelped and jumped back before Evelyn has a chance to slam her leg down on his body. He held the frying pan tighter and used it to defend against a flurry of punches Evelyn lashed at him. Kire backed away once her barrage ended and noticed the pan slightly dented. At that moment, Kire knew that this girl had very good skills involving martial arts and fighting her was a death wish. He began to sweat and took several steps back before throwing the pan directly at Evelyn. He was lucky to hit her square in the face but that only seemed to enrage Evelyn even more. Before Kire had a chance to run, the back of his shirt was snagged by Evelyn and he was pulled right into her fist. She continued to punch him repeatedly on the face. The mob surrounding the two fighters began to disperse and run away, refusing to be caught up in any sort of allocations between them. While the crowd ran about, they crashed on to Evelyn and Kire, separating the two. Evelyn fell to the floor while Kire took this moment to run away from the scene. Evelyn rolled to her side and noticed Kire running off to behind a building, the same one he hid before. He quickly dashed after him.

Kire sprinted as fast as he could to behind the building and slipped between a narrow passage. His hand cleaned any blood running from his nose and even blew his nose to rid any excess. Never had Kire been driven to the point where he drew blood. Most of the times, he managed to get away before anyone caught him. He perked his head when he heard footsteps getting louder and louder until a powerful kick slammed against his chest. All the wind rushed out of his body and he gasped for air. Evelyn was bracing herself for any attack Kire did but, like a coward, Kire ran. Not realizing the passage he was in, he found himself at a dead end and at the mercy of Evelyn. He quickly turned around and saw her lock eyes with him, the mere sight of her sent shivers down his spine. He looked around and picked up a trash can lid and used it as a puny shield in his attempt to defend himself. It quickly proved to be useless when Evelyn roundhouse kicked the lid right off his hands. She crossed her arms and frowned at him. Releasing one final punch on Kire’s face, she seemed satisfied.

“Next time you’ll think twice before conning me!” Evelyn crossed her arms.

“You’re fucking nuts!” Kire spat. “You literally chased me for over two blocks just to beat my face in?! Don’t you have better things to do?!”

“I did this to get even with you! You left me with the bill, you conman! I won’t allow you to take advantage of me and use me like a toy!” Evelyn launched another fist at Kire who was too slow to react on time.

With every fist and kick thrown, Kire was tossed around like a rag doll and Evelyn seemed to show little to no remorse. All of the woman’s rage was painfully met by each and every fist that swung directly at Kire’s struggling body. Blood splattered on the wall and dripped to the floor from Kire’s mouth and nose, each punch beating his face with the full rage of Evelyn. Since Evelyn was a far higher skill than Kire, the fight ended rather quickly, within a few minutes to be exact. Evelyn didn’t come out unharmed though, Kire did prove a few good hits before he lost consciousness. The woman huffed and left Kire stranded in the dead end he was in before walking off, satisfied in her pummeling of the conman. She hoped that it would be the last time she saw him. As of now, she seemed more worried about what she will have to explain to her father with a small bruise on her face. Rolling her eyes, she decided to walk home as she thought of an excuse to tell her father.
The day had gone by before Kire finally stirred up from his slumber. Cracking his eyes open, he realized he had been unconscious for almost an hour. The pain was embedded in his body and he had a splitting headache. He held up his wrist to check the time but noticed that it was tracking a familiar white dot across the nearby block. Blinking in confusion he wondered what was wrong with his watch and he quickly came to a horrible realization.

That tracking chip must’ve latched onto that girl when we were fightin’… Kire thought to himself. I have to get it back before she breaks it! I worked really hard on it! Goddamnit!

 As much as Kire didn’t want to, he rose to his feet and stabilized himself steadily on the ground. The beating he got literally shook his senses around; he was barely about to tell where he was. Once he gained his composure he glanced at his watch and noticed the white blinking dot not too far from his location. Thanks to his bruises he wasn’t able to run so he decided to slow down and pick his pace to that of a speed walker. He couldn’t feel his face and he wondered if he had a broken nose. The pummeling Evelyn gave him almost made him rethink his action on following her in the first place. However, if he didn’t hurry, he wouldn’t have anything to con people with. Grumbling in defeat, he picked up his pace to make up for the time he lost. He didn’t know how much time had passed but he knew that the signal will only last him an hour before the power cuts off. Stubbornly, he walked up the street from the building he was hiding behind. He doesn’t know this part of the city too well but he knew that at the end of the street was an enormous community that only houses wealthy people.

The entire neighborhood was surrounded by a large fence and needed special permission to enter. Sucking his teeth, Kire thought this might not be as easy as he wanted it to be. His eyes browsed his location and spotted a tree hunched over a part of the fence. Rushing his way to the tree he noticed several guards patrolling the inside of the fence. Many guards were positioned by where he would need to drop to enter and this made him pause to think. Kire looked around for a way to distract them and noticed a couple of rocks lying around. Without hesitation, he scooped them up and placed them in his pockets and proceeded to climb the tree. Being as quiet as possible, he made his way to a high point of the tree. Gripping tightly on a branch, Kire took out a rock from his pocket and scanned for a place to chuck it. A large two-story house was just within throwing distance and he knew that breaking a window would certainly distract the mass of guards below. With a mighty throw, Kire tossed the rock towards the house; he was satisfied when he heard a loud crashing noise and the shattering of glass. As he expected, the guards quickly rushed to the scene and he took his chance to sneak inside. He treaded carefully because the guards here could very easily kill him thanks to his current injuries. His watch guided him through the large mansions, each one seemingly bigger than the last.

The image and blinking dot on his watch were slowly fading away but the location was inside the mansion that stood before Kire. It looked to the most colossal of them all, estimated to have at least ten rooms or more. It was possibly three floors high and had very elegantly decor on its outside walls. While the watch still had life to it, Kire ran to the back of the manor and looked directly up at where the blinking light was indicating until finally giving up and shutting down. He was lucky to have finally found the location but he had to figure out a way up to enter the window. Snaking up to the third floor were several trellises and one reached very close to the window he was aiming for. With nothing to lose, Kire tested the strength of the trellis and its vines and started his climb. Upon reaching the top, he slowly peaked his head to the corner of his window to check if anyone was inside. The room was empty and Kire took his chance to budge the window open and sneak inside. He had to find a tiny chip in a room larger than his entire apartment. He started by looking for the clothes Evelyn wore today but he couldn’t find them anywhere. He refused to give up but while he was digging around her room, he noticed a small decorated box standing idlily on a nightstand. When Kire opened the box his eyes sparkled at all the priceless gems and jewelry inside. He knew that if he sold even one of them he would be free from struggling so hard as he does every day. He would never have to con or steal for a meal ever again.

Several minutes went by and Kire closed the box, deciding not to take anything from the woman; he was just here for his chip, not to make a cheap fortune. He began to open drawers and fling clothes in the air, desperately looking for the tiny chip. Searching every corner, he could he simply couldn’t find it no matter how hard he looked. He only wished that his watch had a bit more battery life so he can pinpoint the chip accurately instead of searching like a baboon. He continued his search, double checking any clothes he might have missed. Without warning, the door opened and on the other side was a more than shocked Evelyn. She didn’t speak and her jaw nearly dropped to the floor when she saw a beaten Kire shagging around her room. As soon as Kire noticed Evelyn in the room, he froze in place. Both youngsters stared at each other for about 30 seconds until Kire dropped whatever article of clothing he had on the floor. Holding his hands defensively, he tried his best to make himself look as innocent as possible but in his current situation, it was near impossible.

“Look, I know what it looks like but I’m just here for a chip that latched on to you.” Kire said softly. “I don’t wanna cause a fuss so gimmie my chip and I’ll leav—“

Without letting him finish, Evelyn rushed in her room and let out a scream, attacking Kire and pushing him to the floor. Kire rolled on top of Evelyn and gripped at her arms, pinning them to the floor so he wouldn’t get any more injuries. Pushing himself away from her he jumped back on his feet and slowly backed himself away. He didn’t want to fight a losing battle so he opted to fling shirts and dresses at Evelyn. One of her dresses tangled Evelyn just long enough for Kire and grab her and slam her against her bed. He was careful not to hurt her while he pinned her stomach against the bed. He struggled to look for his chip within her hair and back side of her shirt. All of the struggling Evelyn did made everything harder for Kire so he had no choice but to hold her flailing arm against the bed while he searched for his chip.

“Ugh, release me!” Evelyn shouted. “Look what you did to my room!”

“Stop movin’ so damn much! I can’t find my chip! I’ll leave as soon as I find my chip!”

While the two struggled between each other, a man ran to Evelyn’s door with two large bodyguards. The same man Kire conned yesterday for breakfast was here! Kire looked at the rage fueled face the man had and he instantly realized how this scenario looked with context. He shook his head wildly and sweated while frantically waving his arms. Before he managed to say anything the two bodyguards ran inside the room and took a hold of Kire, placing him in a headlock. They lifted him away from Evelyn and dragged him outside of the room. Kire struggled to free himself but he was too exhausted from the events earlier. He kicked his feet about, trying to hit the guard holding him but there was little he could do when he couldn’t even touch the floor anymore. His hands gripped the bulky arm of the bodyguard and no matter how hard he pulled, the arm wouldn’t budge. The man he conned before entered the room and took a hold of Evelyn, examining her from head to toe. He held the woman close before pointing at the two guards and Kire.

“Move that man to the backyard and bring me my gun! Quickly!” He ordered.

Without a second lost, the men went separate ways: one moving Kire to the backyard and the other fulfilling the wish of his master. Kire was heard screaming and cursing down the hall, trying to explain his situation to no avail. The man turned back to Evelyn and his rage instantly turned to worry and concern.

“Evelyn darling! Are you okay?!” The man cried. “Did that vile scum put his hands on your delicate parts? Did he touch you anywhere?!”

“No father.” Evelyn said with a bored tone. “I’m perfectly fine. That man just wanted his—“

“That man was trying to violate you and I will not stand for it!” The father shouted. “He may have fooled me but he will not hurt my precious daughter!”

“Hold on Papa, I think you got this all wrong—“

Evelyn’s father rushed off before the woman could finish her statement. She rushed after her father to the backyard and noticed Kire pinned to the floor with both arms behind his back. The guard ordered to retrieve the gun arrived with a box and a lone bullet. The father opened the box and pulled out a well-polished and shiny gun. He loaded the single bullet into its chamber and walked over to a struggling Kire who desperately tried to defend himself. When Kire looked up, he only saw the barrel of a gun pointing directly at his head. He stopped struggling and instantly looked at who was holding the gun. He remembered this man.

“Hey! You’re the man I conned into giving me free breakfast!” Kire’s eyes widen slightly when he heard the cocking noise of the gun. “Look, I can explain! It’s not what you think! Really!”

“What am I suppose to think when I see a man pinning my precious daughter down and forcing himself on top of her?” The father replied. “You must take me for a fool.”

“D-Daughter?! That girl is your daughter?!” Kire looked at Evelyn but grunted in pain at the pressing of his back from the bodyguard. “W-Wouldn’t the police come after you knowing you killed a man?!”

“They would if you were someone important enough to press any charges on me.” The father chuckled. “But you’re a nobody. You have no one who would call the cops for you or defend you. But anyways, you’ve lived long enough. Time to end your pitiful existence.”

“That’s enough father!” Evelyn’s voice broke the glare both men had on each other. The female walked over to her father. “He didn’t hurt me or attempted to hurt me in any way. He said he was just looking for his chip or something. It must have gotten stuck on me when I was fighting him…”

“Fight?!” Evelyn’s father pressed the barrel against Kire’s head. “Not only did you attempt to rape my daughter but you dare place your hands on her?!”

“Father, enough! It’s not what you think!” Evelyn pulled her father’s arm back before he did anything rash to Kire. “Killing him won’t solve anything and you know it! So stop this right now father.”

“Hmph!” The father refused to listen to his daughter but caught the determined and alarming look in her eyes. The fire behind them was enough for him to come down to his senses and listen to reason, at least from his daughter. A sigh of defeat pulled him away from Kire and any sort of sudden action he might take. The man straightened himself up and removed the bullet from the chamber of the gun. Snapping his fingers, the guard who brought the gun quickly took a hold of it and whisked away with it. “Very well, if you insist. When you get that look in your eye, there’s no stopping you. However, I cannot let him go unpunished for conning the both of us. Who knows how many people he’s tricked.”

“Oh c’mon! You guys are rich! What’s a few extra dollars out your pocket to feed a starvin’ man?! Greedy motherfuckers…”

The father paced back and forth before Kire and with a single waggle of his finger, the bodyguard rose to his feet and lifted Kire with him. The guard kept a firm grip on Kire which caused him to grit his teeth in pain. Evelyn frowned at how Kire was treated and was about to say something until her father butted in.

“You will work for me and my daughter until you have enough money to pay the meals you conned us out of. You will also work to get your chip back because it now belongs to me.”

“What?!” Kire retorted. “You can’t do that!”

“I just did. Now, away with you. Let him sleep in the shed like the dog he is. Make sure to lock it so he doesn’t get any bright ideas of escaping. We’ll keep him there until we make a proper room for him.”

The bodyguard nodded and started to drag a flailing and screaming Kire to a shed located in a vast backyard. It was close to the side of the house from where he entered. The shed seemed a little old and rustic but it appears to have been used recently. Opening the door, the man effortlessly tossed Kire inside with a loud crash, quickly closing the doors afterwards. Plucking out a key from his pocket, the guard locked the shed doors making sure that Kire had no means of escape. Kire quickly jumped to his feet and rushed at the doors, tackling it with all his might but he didn’t even as much as budge the door. The shed was entirely empty with nothing Kire could use to pry the doors open. For the meanwhile, Kire thought it would be best to not struggle, fearing he would make his wounds much worse; and after touching his swollen face, he thought it was the best idea. He sat down in the corner of the shed and looked up at his only source of light: a small window with bars to protect it. He felt like he was in prison for something he didn’t do.

The shock of the entire day gave Kire something to think about to pass the time until he wasn’t able to keep his eyes open anymore. Without his mattress to sleep on he had no choice but to sleep on the floor the pain and exhaustion driving his body to rest. All he could do was lean on the corner he positioned himself at and close his eyes. He knew he would wake up sore in the morning but at least he allowed both his mind and body a chance to rest. Without any disturbances to bother him, Kire slowly drifted off to sleep.
Now forced to work under the name of Mr. Nicestone, Kire seems to have a better room over his head. The entire house is working extra hard but Kire seems to be given the heaviest load. Everyone is talking about a very special guest that is coming over and Evelyn doesn't seem at all pleased. Who is the mysterious guest and how will Kire react to him?


As the light from the morning sun came through the barred window, Kire was still sleeping. His wounds from yesterday were finally taking their full toll on the man and they were entirely visible. The blackeye Evelyn gave him swelled up massively. While Kire slept, it was very quiet. The birds were chirping their song and even the gentle wind was heard from the rustling between the trees and bushes. Everything sounded peaceful and serene and it looked as if Kire would never wake up. The soft and easygoing sounds of nature were disrupted by the loud banging and opening of the doors from the shed. Kire quickly fluttered his eyes open, the one with his blackeye barely opening at all. Having no time to gather and compose himself, the guard that entered, grab Kire by the back of his shirt and headed out the door. Still dazed and confused, Kire didn’t even put up a fight for the man, allowing himself to be dragged to wherever he was being taken without hassle. The beating he received yesterday was finally surging through his body, proving him unable to function properly. He knew that he would get no mercy so he had to swallow up the pain as much as he could.

The guard tossed Kire inside a room that was already larger than his apartment. It had a single bed that looked more comfortable than a cloud, a large closet with several butler suits, a small dresser with a mirror, and a window with the same bars the shed had. By how barren and boring the room looked, Kire assumed that this is where he would be staying. It was an upgrade from the hut but he still felt like a prisoner regardless. Pushing himself off the floor, Kire saw a new person inside the room, a fair-skinned butler, holding a dreaded suit for him to put on. Kire instantly made a smug face, having a loathe for suits and how uncomfortable they were. The butler was strict and very stern with Kire.

“You will begin work immediately, boy.” The butler demanded. “Put on this suit and prepare yourself for proper presentation.”

“I don’t wear penguin suits.” Kire said while yawning.

“I had a feeling you’d refuse. Very well then…” The butler looked over at the guard at the door and nodded. The man walked over to Kire and casually slammed a fist in his gut. Kire instantly fell to the floor gasping for air and coughing violently. “Now then, every time you disobey my orders, you will be punished by our wonderful bodyguard. With your current wounds, I highly recommend you listen and do as you are told.”

“S-Sure…” Kire was still suffering from the attack and all he could do is grip his abdomen, attempting to catch his breath. He was unable to rise to his feet despite his many attempts. Gritting his teeth, he dug his nails into the floor at how the pain waved inside of him, physically and mentally.
“Good. Now then, you can address me as Gerome.” Gerome put the butler suit on top of the bed and searched for a bowtie from the dresser. “Master Nicestone has given me strict orders to keep you away from Lady Evelyn and keep you supervised at all times. You will begin working on cleaning the entire house from top to bottom. Make haste, after that you will help our head chef with making dinner. We have a very important guest coming over later today, and we don’t want you to mess anything up.”

“Yeah, yeah…” Kire was finally starting to get back up to his feet, the pain subsiding from his stomach. “Jeez, all I wanted was my chip back, not to be some slave.”

“Whatever your intentions were, I assure you that you will be molded into a man of proper mannerism and turn into someone who doesn’t rely on childish tricks, you know, a proper human being. Now hurry and put on your suit, you have a lot of work to do.”

With a heavy sigh, Kire did as he was told, the looming bodyguard at the door gave him no choice. Without giving any warning, the man stripped down to his heart boxers. Gerome grumbled at the display and turned away from the half-naked Kire. The struggle Kire presented when putting on an ordinary suit forced Gerome to help him. Once Kire was finally in his butler attire, it felt suffocating to him, always fidgeting with the bowtie and buttons that closed off his neck. He felt his posture improve so it wasn’t all bad but it was only because he thought that if he slouched that he would slowly choke himself out with this suit. While Kire adjusted the parts bothering him, Gerome reached out and swiped the bandana from Kire’s head. Kire quickly turned his head to Gerome who was placing the bandana inside one of the drawers, nicely folded.

“Hey, what the hell?!” Kire whined. “Give back my bandana!”

“I’m sorry but you cannot work with that on your head,” Gerome said softly. “At least for today. Our very special guest must be treated with the best of hospitality.”

“Tch! Fine, whatever. Just for today, tho.”

As Gerome and Kire finished putting the butler suit, Kire was finally ready for his first hard day at work. Having the biggest scowl on his face, Kire followed Gerome out the room and walked down what looked to be an endless hallway with millions of doors. Despite his situation, Kire took this moment to enjoy the beauty of the home really; he would have to get used to it anyways. The walls were a delicate lilac color and there were stunning and exotic plants that hung from either side of the doors he passed. A sweet and honey-like aroma hazed across the halls, possibly the entire house, filling Kire’s lungs with a healing feeling that washed away the pain he felt this morning. With each deep breath he took, his spirits were lifted slightly. The stairs were made of marble and glistened in the light and by the time Kire went to the bottom step and to the middle of the room he was currently in, he saw two staircases leading up from where he came. His jaw dropped at how he could easily get lost in here. He looked up at where the stairs ended and noticed a very large framed painting of Mr. Nicestone in his younger years, Evelyn as a child, and a mysterious woman which Kire assumed to be Mrs. Nicestone since Evelyn looked much like her. The woman held a young Evelyn in the air and the entire family looked as if they were having a great time and, for the first time, Kire saw Evelyn smile. The painting forced a smile on his own lips by how pure and innocent it was and a warm sensation filled Kire’s body, he couldn’t explain it but the way he felt almost made him forget the hell he was going to be forced to do.

Kire couldn’t get his eyes off the painting and wondered where the woman was. As he pondered his thoughts, Gerome shoved a broomstick and a bucket of cleaning supplies in his arms. Backing up from the sudden shove of supplies, Kire glanced down and noticed that there were several cleaning brushes, scented floor cleaner, window cleaner, and many other cleaning supplies. The look on his face was far from happy and the sigh that came from his mouth showed his annoyance.

“Your duty is to clean the dojo since I believe you are not capable of cleaning this entire floor yet.” Gerome said while digging into his pocket and pulling out what looked to be a small planner. “Lord Edwin will not arrive until 6 pm tonight. You will be in charge of taking orders for the night and you better be on your best behavior.” The butler pointed to his left. “Down this hall, you should keep going until you see a door labeled ‘Nicestone Dojo’. You are to clean it from top to bottom and when I return to check on you within a few hours or so, you’ll begin to prepare the tables for Lord Edwin’s arrival.”

“You guys got a Dojo? That’s pretty cool, how many students you guys got?” Kire said looking down the hall.

“Only one: Lady Evelyn. She’s quite the fighter and can even put her current teacher on his toes! Even our guards have a hard time keeping her down.”

“That explains a lot...”

Kire nodded to Gerome and headed off to the left where he was instructed to go. Like the hallway from upstairs, the walls were decorated with flowers and many paintings of beautiful scenery. The hall was wide enough to fit a car and even have a bit of space left over. He paused by a large window and looked out at the front yard. It had a large garden with many wild and exotic plants and flowers. Everything looked as if it was untouched by time but taken care of recently, to say that Kire was amazed was an understatement. He only wondered how big the whole mansion could be considering that he only saw two rooms and a shed. At the end of the hall, he saw the door labeled ‘Nicestone Dojo’ and slowly opened it to peek inside. His eyes widen at how large the dojo was for just one room. The door opened by itself, exposing the rest of the dojo to Kire. One side of the room had its walls entirely replaced by mirrors and the opposite side had several photos of Evelyn winning medals and trophies from an early age. As Kire walked in the room, the floor creaked slightly thanks to the well-polished wooden floors. His eyes looked at the many awards mounted right above the space between the mirrors and ceiling then moved to sword at the end of the room. Not only was there a sword but many other weapons planted on the wall on special shelves to hold them. Remaining speechless, Kire didn’t even realize Gerome enter the Dojo room to tell him that there is a faucet just outside the door tucked away in the corner. Kire nodded, acknowledging the information and knew he had to start working.

Kire removed his shoes and socks, placing them near the door he entered and walked across to the door Gerome pointed him to. He poked his head outside and saw the faucet nearby so he let the water run and fill the bucket. While the bucket filled with water, he gazed at the authentic weapons that layered the room but one in specific caught his eye, one that he didn’t notice before. Right above the photos of Evelyn’s victories rested two katanas that were completely out of reach and to the side of the mounted dual katanas were recent victories that Evelyn participated in. In one photo, she had third place and the other she had first. Kire couldn’t stop staring at Evelyn’s big smile and how surprisingly beautiful she was when she wasn’t sulking or beating him senseless. He shook his head from the thought but made a smile of his own as he returned to his overflowing bucket. Turning the faucet off, he gently pulled the bucket inside and took a hold of the mop that Gerome shoved onto him. He carefully read the directions of the floor cleaner and within a matter of minutes, he started his mopping of the dojo floors. The more he mopped the floors, the more he gazed at the awards, weapons, and photos, specifically the ones with Evelyn smiling. He started to hum to himself as his means of entertainment and began to notice that traditional mopping would take forever to clean such a large dojo.
Returning to the supplies offered to him, he began to try and think of a faster way of cleaning the entire room. He stared at two large cleaning brushes and many types of rags. Glancing between the mirrors and the floor, Kire seemed to have sparked an idea. He removed his uncomfortable butler jacket and even the undershirt, exposing his bare chest and then started to roll up his pants. He ran back to his shoes and removed the laces, he ran back with his laces and even his socks back to the scrubbing brushes. He placed the wooden part of the brush against his foot and tied it on using his long black formal sock. He did the same for the other foot and made sure that it was tightly secured before taking a hold of the bucket and carefully poured a controlled amount of fluid across the floors. He needed enough to cover the entire floor but not so much that it won’t flood the place. His now boring routine was turned into something a little more fun for himself, the dojo had now turned into a temporary ‘skating ring’ for Kire. Balancing himself atop the cleaning brushes, Kire pushed himself and glided across the sleek floor as he planned he would and he began to clean the dojo floors as he was ordered to do. Sliding across the floor, Kire thought he would try to pretend he was a figure skater and spin around and do tricks. He occasionally fell but he got right back up and continued to try again.

In a while, the floors were nice and clean and they even shined at how well a job Kire did, all in half the time it would have taken him mopping. He now had to work with the mirrors and didn’t hesitate to switchgear. Going to the supplies, he took a hold of the bucket and tossed the remaining water outside and refilled it once again, this time adding some window/mirror cleaner solution. He removed the brushes from his feet and threw them to the corner. Digging in the supplies, he pulled out two small towels and began to tie them on to his hands using the shoelaces he removed from earlier then take the bucket of solution closer to the mirrors. Kire dunked only one towel into the mix and started to clean away at the mirror while drying up the mirror with the other hand. He was so busy and distracted in cleaning the mirrors that he didn’t notice Evelyn peeking through the door. She eventually entered the room and eyed Kire down like a hawk, watching his every move. She tried not to alert him, almost as if she wanted to see what he does when he’s alone, her curiosity always getting the better of her. It wasn’t long until Kire noticed her presence in the room and nodded to her. He didn’t know why she entered but he might as well talk to her.

“Sup Evelyn.” Kire didn’t take his eyes off his work. “What brings ya’ here?”

“I was just wondering who was in here.” Evelyn said while eyeing the floor and how it shined. “Looks like Gerome is treating you hard, huh?”

“Not any worse than what I was already used to.” Kire chuckled. “Gerome said somethin’ ‘bout an Eggwin dude. Some sort of special guest. Any ideas on who he is?”
Evelyn frowned at the mention of a familiar name. She lowered her gaze to her feet and sounded defeated.

“Edwin Walters. He’s my…fiancé.”

“You don’t sound very happy. You still upset that he ditched you at that restaurant?” Kire was nearing the end of cleaning the mirror before glancing at Evelyn and noticed her sulking. He remained silent, waiting for her to speak if she wished to.

“No, it’s not that. On the contrary, I was happy he didn’t come.”

“Why? Aren’t you guys in love or somethin’?”

“I could never love someone as controlling as he is. If he was there, he would’ve ordered for me and made me eat something else. Ugh, every time I’m around him I can never do anything I want to do.”

“So why don’t you stop datin’ him?” Kire said while removing the rags from his hands and tossing them to the corner where the rest of the supplies were. He stretched his body and walked to the side of the room that had all the photos of Evelyn. “You don’t have to tolerate that stuff. You look like a woman who can very easily fend for herself, so why stick with him if he’s such a dick?”

“Well, father wants me to be safe and well-taken care for… Edwin is rich and thus father thinks I’m in good hands.”

“Sounds like you’re gonna be in for a really rough time if you continue to let this happen. But hey, who am I to intervene?” Kire’s eyes shifted from the photos to the woman before him and shrugged. “If I were your dad I would want you to be happy and not worry about some dude belittling you. Hell, if it was up to me, I would treat you the way you should be treated, like a human being, y’know?”

Evelyn’s eyes widen at Kire’s last statement and she felt her body warm up. She looked at Kire as he fumbled around, trying to put on the butler suit he took off before. A smile formed on her face and she shook her head at the words Kire spewed, they held a shimmer of truth behind them and even what Evelyn lingered for: a form of acceptance. The warmness in her body made her feel sympathetic for Kire despite what he’s done to her and her father, she eyed Kire with a cocky look on her face.

“Do you think you can do something to embarrass Edwin?” Evelyn’s smile rose to a grinning smirk, her eyes full of mischief. “If you can get him mad enough to never come back, maybe he won’t marry me.”

“And what? Get my ass beat for somethin’ you wanted? No thanks. I already got my face pummeled in and I’m not about to get anythin’ else punched.” Kire made a disgusted face. “Besides, I don’t know the guy. For all I know, you’re nothin’ but a spoiled brat and he’s puttin’ you in your place!”

Evelyn puffed her cheeks and her childish face instantly turned that of anger.

“Hmph! Fine! I’ll just find my own way to do it and it’ll be far better than yours!” Within a swift moment, Evelyn turned on her heel and swiftly bolted out the door, stomping her feet like a child in a tantrum.

“Whatever you say cutie.” Kire said as he fixed the buttons on his suit and the collar. Ignoring Evelyn’s temperament, as usual, he gathered all the cleaning supplies and made sure that the entire dojo was spotless so Gerome wouldn’t give him any trouble.

Making his way out the dojo, Kire noticed Gerome down the hall walking in his direction somewhat surprised that he finished so quickly. Kire explained how he finished so fast but Gerome has his suspicion, however, he decided not to push so much since it was time for Kire to make the table. He guided Kire through long and endless hallways to a dining room that was at least twice as big as the dojo. The main attraction was a large and elegant looking chandelier. The glass reflected every angle of light and was held up by several cords and ropes. Dangling off the bottom looked to be precious gems and stones that were all arranged to show the colors of a rainbow, each color fading to the next thanks to the placement of the stones. The entire chandelier resembled that of a castle in the sky that was made of glass. Taking his eyes off the floating work of art, he noticed the long table with about ten chairs all lined up symmetrically. The head chair, assumingly where Mr. Nicestone sat, looked like a throne by how dignified it looked, having two large crystal-like balls sprouting from the back end of the chair, a velvet cushion that appeared to be made of silk, and armrests of the highest quality wood. The other chairs shared the similar velvet cushion but were smaller and less detailed than the main chair.

The table had a white cover that was black near the edge and has a unique and complicated looking design in the center. The corners have black tassels that swayed slightly when someone passed by them. On top of the table cover rested a pastel red tablecloth that was entirely lace and gave the beautiful design of roses and other flowers. The color complimented the bottom sheet and it looked like a garden on top of the table. Vases with blue and white orchids rested on top of the table, freshly picked. Right in the center of the table, on top of the complicated design, was a bouquet of a mesh of flowers, some rare and some known. It looked almost like a mini jungle.

Kire was baffled at the sight of so many flowers and thought it was a bit excessive, even for this rich family. He assumed that the army of flowers was just for today since a special guest was coming over. He looked around the room and saw large windows that allowed the sun’s light to bask and illuminate the entire room. Just past the room was a double opening door, similar to those found in a restaurant, which leads to the kitchen. Gerome took a hold of the cleaning supplies Kire had and handed them to a nearby maid who scurried away with them. Reminding Kire to be on his best behavior, Gerome fixed the crooked bowtie on Kire’s neck. He told him that once this guest left, Kire would be free to rest for the day and finally eat. Kire grumbled, forgetting that he didn’t eat anything since yesterday and never realized how hungry he was. He was used to it so it might explain his tolerance.

As the hour grew near, Kire was forced to put all the plates and silverware for every chair and make sure everything was in its proper position. He knew a little of upper class eating etiquettes and how needlessly complicated they were. He knew the placement of each spoon, knife, and fork as well as the soup bowl, napkins, and butter plate. As Kire placed the plates on the table, he thought about what Evelyn told him about their guest, Edwin. It bothered him to see a woman as bold and strong like her be controlled as she claims she is. If this were true, Kire thought about helping Evelyn out but he didn’t want to get in any more trouble than he already was. However, he wondered why would Evelyn say something like that and had a feeling she wouldn’t lie just to make some man look bad. He battled if he should help her or not.

Bah, this is her problem, not mine. Kire thought.

Gerome alerted the other butlers and maids that the guest of the hour was arriving any minute. Kire rolled his eyes at Gerome scolding him to be on his best behavior. Ordered to head to the front for proper introductions, Kire refused and demanded to stay by the table or help in the kitchen but was finally forced to the front where several butlers and maids waited for Edwin’s arrival. All the servants were standing perfectly straight and poised, the glaring look Gerome gave Kire quickly made him straighten himself out and copy the others. There were two rows of servants waiting patiently by the door, one side female, and the other males, and both sides looked excited and mumbled between each other. The room quickly got quiet as soon as the sound of heels clicked on the marble floor above them and stopped at the balcony overseeing the front door. The maids were in awe and the butlers were speechless and when Kire looked up to see what everyone was so amazed about, his jaw dropped. The sight of Evelyn caused everyone to bow their heads, almost as if they were in the presences of a holy figure; everyone except for Kire. He locked eyes with Evelyn and tried his hardest to look away, only when Gerome forced his head into a bow was their gaze finally broken.

When Evelyn’s father, Mr. Nicestone, loomed over the balcony next to his daughter he eyed Kire specifically. It was obvious that the tension he had with the man was not at all lifted, even in the slightest. Then all the servants lifted their heads, Mr. Nicestone offered a hearty laugh to ease the people in the room. Kire noticed the amazing suit Mr. Nicestone had on, perfectly made just for his build. His mustache was neatly combed and trimmed while his hair was gently combed back. His mustache reminded Kire of those fancy dogs who are always portrayed as British because of the fur on their face. Nonetheless, Kire smiled at Mr. Nicestone’s laugh and remained quiet, listening to what the man had to say.

“Well, today is a very important day, as you all know.” The man spoke while gently placing a hand on Evelyn’s shoulder. “Evelyn’s fiancé is coming over. We must make sure everything is well and to Lord Edwin’s liking! You all are wonderful servants and I know all of you—“ Mr. Nicestone stopped himself before looking at Kire. “Most of you will give us no problem at all.”

Kire’s smile quickly disappeared when Mr. Nicestone changed his sentence to specifically cast him out. The man rolled his eyes at the petty insult before viewing Evelyn once again, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t look away. He heard the father talking but couldn’t register what he was saying thanks to his focus on Evelyn. The one thing that did catch his attention and snap him back to reality was the sound of the doorbell. The room was quick to silence itself while the maids and butlers fixed themselves out, looking their best for the long-awaited guest. Gerome made a quick fix to Kire’s suit, straightened his back, begged him not to mess anything up, and told him to copy his posture. One of the guards slowly opened the door, bowing his head to the man who entered.

The man, just a little taller than Kire, had blonde hair parted in the middle with just a few strands of hair falling over his hazel eyes. His attire made him look like a prince: He had the stupid sash thing, buttons made of gold, lavish designs, and even that cape to show their status in wealth. Everything that Kire hated in the rich was all bundled up all on one man and it was just as overdramatic as he thought. The man smiled brightly and Kire assumed he wasn’t all that bad but even then, he couldn’t base a man simply with a smile. The man held out his hand to the head maid and she offered a kiss on the top then he removed his furry cape and one of the butlers quickly took it from his hands. Everything looked so organized and out of a cartoon, Kire was amazed. As the man made himself comfortable, he walked by the line of maids and butlers and examined each one, remembering the faces of those who served him. He stopped by Kire who had his head bowed and for once, Kire felt intimidated by such a high-status man. His eyes looked frantically at the floor, almost as if looking for a way out of his gaze. Mr. Nicestone’s voice boomed out to the crowd before the man had any time to address Kire and, for once, Kire never felt so happy to hear Mr. Nicestone’s voice.

“Sir Edwin Walters! What a pleasure for you to come here!” Mr. Nicestone said while laughing. He held his arm for Evelyn who placed her hand on it and followed her father down the stairs with a small frown. “I present to you my princess of a daughter, my love, and joy, Evelyn.”

“Ah, lovely as ever, Evelyn.” Edwin said softly.

Evelyn remained quiet and did a curtsy bow to Edwin, pulling up both ends of her beautiful sky blue dress. Edwin held out his hand and Evelyn took a hold of it, kissing it like the maids did. The expression on her face didn’t seem to like what she was doing. She returned to her father’s side, taking a hold of his arm and keeping her gaze to the floor.

“I suppose we should head right into the main event, right Lord Edwin?” The father spoke out boldly. “Dinner is waiting for us.”

“Indeed, let us depart and eat well into the night!” Edwin smiled.

While Edwin, Evelyn, and her father left to the main dining hall, Gerome tapped on Kire’s shoulder and alerted him that Edwin had disappeared. Kire slowly lifted his head and bit his lip near the breaking point, his knees trembled and his mouth dry. The entire room felt so heavy with Mr. Nicestone and Edwin, it was suffocating to him. Fear wasn’t the right word to describe his current predicament, it was more of being uneasy or numb and even then, those were still not the best words. He most likely felt like this because he didn’t want to screw anything up in front of Mr. Nicestone, especially being such an important day for the family. Once the weight of the room and his shoulders lifted, Kire followed the maids and butlers to the dining hall. When they arrived in the hall, Evelyn and Edwin were sitting right next to each other and even from a distance, Kire noticed the stressed look on Evelyn’s face. He shook his head, reminding himself that this was her problem and not his and regardless of what went between the two, he wouldn’t interfere. The smell of the food is what seemed to distract Kire from his thoughts and his job.

While Edwin and Mr. Nicestone talked, Evelyn had yet to say a word unless spoken to by her father or Edwin. When the butlers arrived to hand the father and couple a small menu of what will be served for dinner, Edwin took a hold of the menus and looked up at the waitress waiting to take his order. He gently rose from his seat and placed a hand on the waitress’s shoulder before turning to Mr. Nicestone.

“Excuse me Mr. Nicestone, if I may be crude,” Edwin spoke gingerly. “I would like to hand pick my waiter for this night. I am feeling rather generous and would like to give someone new a chance of impressing me.”

“Very well Lord Edwin.” Mr. Nicestone nodded. “Who should have the privilege of serving you this wonderful night?”

“Why, the new servant of course!” Edwin pointed at the one man who wished he wasn’t picked. “That one, the one with the messy red hair.”

The room paused and everyone stared at the man Edwin pointed at, Kire Rebbel. Kire stopped breathing in his futile hope of waking up from a bad dream. The death glare Mr. Nicestone gave him was enough to make his heart skip a beat. The weight of every single stare in the room locked right on him and it was crippling. The mere thought of helping Edwin paralyzed his nerves and he was unable to react when Edwin gave him a dire smile. Edwin, on the other hand, curled his index finger, informing Kire to come to his side. Still paralyzed, Kire didn’t move an inch even though Edwin had already given him a gesture to move, only until Mr. Nicestone spoke was Kire even able to twitch.

“L-Lord Edwin, he is rather new.” Mr. Nicestone stuttered. “I don’t think he’s quite prepared for the simple task of handling orders just yet. I hired him only but yesterday.”

More like imprisoned… Kire thought.

“Well, this should be a nice and rather educational lesson for the new servant.” Edwin persisted with having Kire as his waiter. “Don’t you agree, Mr. Nicestone?”

“Ehh, w-well…” The father paused for a second. “Alright, but be warned, he has a rather smart mouth on him.”

“Oh, does he? I’m sure he’ll behave himself for this important night. Not even a fool will talk back to their masters.”

“I think we should leave him out of—“ Evelyn tried to speak but was quickly cut off by Edwin who waved at Kire to come to his side. The woman sunk in her chair slightly.

“Come here boy, I am ready to get my orders.”

Kire felt all eyes on him once again but the shove Gerome gave him finally made his move to Edwin’s side. A cold sweat ran down Kire’s spine the closer he got to Edwin but the man was rather gentle looking up close. Holding his hand to Kire, he waited patiently for something. Kire stared at the hand then back at Edwin, puzzled for the moment until he gently took a hold of his hand and brought it closer to his lips. He was hesitant and gritted his teeth at the action he had to do but once performed, he was disgusted that he had to kiss the hand of a rich man. Mentally, he already didn’t like Edwin but he couldn’t say he truly hated the man. One thing that bothered Kire was when Edwin petted the top of his head, like some sort of animal when it did a good thing, perhaps it was something rich people do with their servants so Kire didn’t question it but it definitely rubbed him off the wrong way and he hates being treated in such a way. Taking a deep breath, his tension and nerves all eased up in a constant reminder that he was just going to take orders and be done with the day.

How hard can it be? Kire said mentally. Just take their stupid orders and be done with it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Gerome rushed to Kire with a notepad and a pen so he can write down the orders for Edwin and Evelyn. Kire grew more relaxed as the time went on and the two took their time to order. He continued to tell himself that it was a simple order and he can’t possibly mess it up even if he wanted to. However, as time passed on, he realized that his feet were starting to hurt by how long he was standing and only now was he starting to notice that Edwin was taking an awfully long time to place an order with just 4 things on the menu. When Edwin finally decided, Kire was starting to doze off. A quick thump on his foot by the young man and Kire instantly placed the pen to paper, ready to take any orders. Edwin laughed at Kire’s nervousness and calmly placed a hand on his back to reassure that he was not upset. He was rather humble and modest compared to what Evelyn had told him but Kire had this unshakable feeling about the man and felt that something was just a little off.

“Forgive me, I like to take my time.” The man cleared his throat. “Anywho, I would like to place my order now.”

“Alright, what would you like to order?” Kire said, finally relaxed.

“I would like the Lamb Chops and the lamb sauce that comes with it. For my sides, I would like the mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables.”

“Alright, anything to drink, Lord Edwin?”

“A fine red wine would be desirable.”

“Okie dokie.” Kire jotted down the order as fast as he could and turned to Evelyn who still had that sulk on her face. “And what about you, Lady Evelyn?”

“Let’s see… I wanna eat the Filet Mignon with mashed potatoes and sauté mushrooms. I would also like to drink a—“ Evelyn was cut off by Edwin who seemed to be horrified by Evelyn’s order.

“Good heavens, you won’t be eating that. Think about your figure and your weight Lady Evelyn. I won’t have a beautiful lady like you gain a single pound more than you currently have.” Edwin glared at Kire who just finished jotting down the order. “I want to order a salad for my fiancé. Sprinkle a light olive oil and croutons on her salad.”

“But I don’t want a salad…” Evelyn whispered. “I wanna eat the filet mignon—“

“Evelyn, I won’t let your health plummet because you want to eat such calorie-rich foods. You should think about your health, I only want what’s best for you.” Edwin narrowed his hazel eyes to Kire, almost threatening him. “I hope you ordered it down, boy.”

“I did, Sir Edwin.” Kire frowned at how Edwin treated Evelyn but didn’t say a thing. He pretended to write down the salad in order to please the spoiled brat. He understood what Evelyn meant when she said that Edwin was very ‘controlling’. He didn’t like seeing a lady treated like this so he simply nodded his head to the couple and headed to Mr. Nicestone who snarled at his presence. He took one step back from the man. “What would you like to order, Lord Nicestone?”

“A Medium-Well steak with a side order of sauté mushrooms and steamed carrots. Bring me a red wine.” The man ordered. “And hurry up, I’m starving.”

“As you wish.” Kire wrote the order down and bowed his head. “The food will all be here momentarily.” With his final words said, he walked off into the kitchen where many of the chefs had already begun preparing some food.

Kire handed the head chef the orders of Lamb chops, steak, and filet mignon before waiting patiently by the door. The sweet aroma of food that wavered in the air reminded him how he didn’t eat anything all day but Edwin’s attitude towards Evelyn continued to bother him, even distract him from his hunger. While the food was cooking, Kire was thinking of the right thing to say when Edwin saw a different order on Evelyn’s plate. All the chefs and helpers rushed through the kitchen, each one doing a specific order with the freshest products. The vegetables were steamed to perfection, the potatoes mashed to a smooth texture and were added butter for a more refined taste. Each mushroom was mixed with onion slices, garlic butter, salt, pepper, and a dash of white wine, all on top of a hot fire that erupted occasionally when the skillet brushed passed the gas. Finally, the sizzle of each meat placed on a skillet became the long-awaited song in the kitchen. A chef was heard talking and the others joined in his chatter. To Kire, everyone seemed happy working for Mr. Nicestone but he could not grasp why. Was it out of fear or was there a deeper motive behind their actions? One chef laughed so loud it caused Kire to jump slightly.

Each plate was nicely decorated with thyme, rosemary, and dill weeds, each according to their proper cut of meat. A tray was needed to help Kire carry all the plates to their proper owner and he made sure to balance it perfectly on his hand while using his shoulder for support. He first carried out Mr. Nicestone and Edwin’s orders. He arrived to Mr. Nicestone’s side and gently planted the hot plate before the man. The sides were placed to either side of his plate and his wine glass was filled up with a fancy red wine Kire couldn’t pronounce. The father looked rather impressed at Kire’s performance and didn’t offer his usual words of discouragement. For once, his silence was golden.  He then worked his way to Edwin Walters and placed his food before him in a similar fashion, all without uttering a word to either person. When Evelyn noticed her plate was the only one missing, Kire offered a wink at her before rushing off to the kitchen once again, preparing each plate on the tray before walking to the kitchen door. He paused for a moment and thought one last time if he should actually give Evelyn what she ordered or listen to Edwin to avoid any troubles he would get himself in to. After a long and irritating 15 minutes, Kire exited the kitchen and came prepared with a salad and everything that Edwin had forced Evelyn to order. When her food arrived, Evelyn looked defeated and simply let out a small sigh. She didn’t say a word and felt Edwin’s smirk rise when he got his way.

“Please pardon me, it seems I forgot to bring the wine.” Kire smiled. “I will return momentarily with your drink.”

Kire walked back into the kitchen and took his sweet time. Evelyn flicked the few leaves on her salad and occasionally took a bite. Her disgust for the rather plain salad forced a scowl on her face that made Edwin have a chuckle. He didn’t ask her what the problem was and watched her eat her salad obediently until Kire finally returned with several things located on his tray. Kire placed his tray on the table and picked up a small block of Parmesan cheese and a cheese grater. His vivid green eyes locked onto a shocked Edwin who simply couldn’t believe what he was witnessing right now.

“A plain salad like yours, Lady Evelyn, can be far better if we added a dash of Parmesan cheese, yeah?” Kire, without Edwin’s permission, began to grate the cheese and sprinkle it on Evelyn’s salad. The woman did nothing to stop Kire and her scowl turned into a surprised smile, similar to a child opening their birthday presents. “Would you care if I added a few nuts and berries to your salad, m’lady?”

“Oh, yeah! Do you have any dressings?” Evelyn peaked over Kire’s shoulder to the tray he brought. “What about Thousand Island dressing?”

“I got everythin’ you would need to make a salad delicious.” Kire said while adding everything Evelyn wanted. “However, a salad doesn’t exactly make a meal.”

“What do you mean?” Evelyn said while she watched Kire mix the ingredients around. Without any notice, her salad was pushed out of the way to make room for another dish, the one she actually ordered.

“I believe a salad is a wonderful side to have with some Filet Mignon, don’cha think?” Said Kire while he slid the cackling slab of beef in front of Evelyn followed by her requested sides. “As you requested, Lady Evelyn, a fresh filet mignon accompanied by your sauté mushrooms and mashed potatoes.”

Evelyn’s eyes widen as she quickly turned to Kire with a look of disbelief on her face. For someone to boldly and fearlessly push away Edwin’s order, the warm feeling from before engulfed Evelyn once again: acceptance. Kire filled her wine glass with the ruby liquid and bowed his head, nearly identical to when he first met her back in the restaurant. Their eyes met again and Kire saw the joy behind her eyes. He chuckled.

Edwin glared at Kire with the near intent to kill him. He rose from his seat and turned to Kire with a crooked smile on his face while placing a very hard grip on his shoulder. The larger man pulled Kire closer to his side of the table, away from Evelyn and cleared his throat. He sounded a little tattered, almost as if he was shaken up by the whole ordeal and disobedience by Kire. Speaking directly to Mr. Nicestone, who seemed more focused on his steak, Edwin addressed his situation.

“My, you weren’t wrong when you said that he was rather untamed,” Edwin said while he poured himself some more wine to sip from. “He got a rather simple order messed up. I said very clearly to give my fiancé a salad with a bit of olive oil and croutons, an order so simple that even an untrained monkey can properly understand.”

“Why did you disobey Lord Edwin, servant?” Mr. Nicestone said while his eyes pierced right through Kire. “You are to follow Edwin’s orders and present my precious daughter the meal best suited for her body. Are you trying to make her fat?”

“What are you talkin’ about? I never disobeyed Edwin.” Kire smirked. “Lady Evelyn still got her salad along with the order she made: A filet mignon, sauté mushrooms, and mashed potatoes.”

“Don’t act smart.” Edwin spat while narrowing his eyes. “Why did you still bring the beef when I ordered you to just bring her a salad?”

“Indeed, why did you bring my daughter this?” Mr. Nicestone added.

“Well, am I not supposed to follow the orders of every person here?” Kire shrugged. “Theoretically the salad order was from Edwin, not Lady Evelyn. Besides, I overheard Evelyn saying how much she wanted the filet mignon. What kind of a servant would I be if I simply dismissed the fine Lady’s order? My only job here is to serve those with the name Nicestone and make sure that their wishes are fulfilled. A smile from a Nicestone is all the pay I need.”

Mr. Nicestone looked over to his daughter who was smiling for the first time this night and nodded to assure that Kire was correct. He still questioned her and Edwin, having his doubts with Kire.

“Evelyn darling, did you truly want the filet mignon despite Edwin’s decision?”

“Uhh…” Evelyn paused, feeling the cold stare Edwin gave her. She looked up but caught Kire’s warm green eyes. His calm demeanor and the wink he offered her gave her the courage to stand up to Edwin’s tight grip. “Yeah, I wanted the filet mignon! I’ve been super hungry all day so I wanted to eat something delicious. Besides, don’t you know that a salad is one of the best things to eat with a filet mignon? C’mon Pops, I thought you knew better.” Evelyn toyed with her father.

“Ohoho, I suppose you’re right darling.” The intense gaze the father gave to Kire soften slightly. Slightly. “Very well, good job on bringing a smile to my wonderful daughter’s face, servant. You are dismissed for the night.”

“Thank you for your humble words Mr. Nice—“ Kire was cut off by Edwin’s frantic voice.

“As much as I would like him to leave, Mr. Nicestone, why doesn’t he stay until after we finish eating?” Edwin smirked upon hearing Kire’s stomach grumble. Much to Kire’s dislike, it was torture to him when his stomach growled. “I’m sure he’ll enjoy the company.”

Mr. Nicestone, oblivious to Kire’s stomach, nodded in agreement. Edwin, glowing with sadistic joy, slowly and tenderly sliced into his lamb chop and mixed it with the sauce that accompanied it. Kire licked his lip at how badly he wanted to take one bite at his lamb chops. He resisted as hard as he could but the sounds of his stomach were weakening him and loud enough to get Evelyn’s attention. She knew what Edwin was doing but decided to stay quiet about it for now and not get Kire in any trouble with her father or Edwin. Then, Mr. Nicestone rose from his seat and cleaned his mouth off with the napkin before looking over at Kire, his gaze still hard.

“I have to dismiss the servant, Lord Edwin.” The father said sternly.

“Why’s that Mr. Nicestone?” Edwin looked up at Kire who was focused on the food he had on his plate. “He looks rather content.”

“I know but that servant… I believe I can hear his stomach growling. He’s worked very hard today and you know I don’t overwork my servants.”

“Stomach growling? I don’t hear such a thing and I’m right next to him.” Edwin switched his plate to the mashed potatoes, mixing the remaining lamb sauce in with the food. He swirled it around with his fork. “Maybe the servants are working upstairs and are making a bit of a ruckus.”

“Even so, I cannot overwork the man.”

“What a shame, I liked his company.” Edwin shrugged before taking a spoonful of mashed potatoes to his mouth and swallowed. “Maybe he learned a valuable lesson with me. I’m sure he did, just look at how tame and well-mannered he is. I should come here more often and perhaps teach him to be the best servant you own; a loyal, intelligent, and obedient servant.”

“Perhaps another day Lord Edwin. In this house, my servants are my family. Ohohoho!” Mr. Nicestone’s words confused Kire but he decided not to speak up now that he was finally getting released from his torture. “Now then, you’re free to go.”

“Thank you Lord Nicestone,” Kire bowed his head. “it was an honor serving you and your guest, especially your lovely daughter.”

As Kire headed off, Evelyn yanked him back to the table, this time by her side. She looked at her half-eaten filet mignon and lifted her plate to give to Kire. Hearing his stomach growl the woman couldn’t stand Edwin’s formal way of torture. The offering Evelyn gave Kire caused him to almost take a step back. Normally, he would accept the plate and leave but something drove Kire to deny the generous offer despite his growling stomach. He held out an open palm and gently pushed the plate back on to the table, bowing his head to Evelyn. The woman was confused considering how he usually acts around food and his humbleness stunned her.

“While I appreciate the offer, Lady Evelyn, I must refuse.” Kire said modestly. “I will wait until everyone here is done eating to find a nice meal.”

“But… you’re so hungry.” Evelyn frowned. “Who knows when we will finish.”

“Then I will simply endure until the time comes. Besides, I cannot eat your filet mignon. I had it made it just for you. Wouldn’t you agree that a plain salad is better when it’s covered with other lively ingredients and left staring at the wonderful filet mignon as it takes the main course and surprises the person who ordered it?”

Evelyn’s eyes widen at Kire’s words. Having an idea what he meant, she giggled before sitting back down and savoring her meal as she should. Edwin didn’t look pleased with how Kire played his word and knew exactly what he meant. Taking a sip of his wine, the rich man swished the fluid in his cup before finally speaking out to Kire in a low voice, wanting to establish his dominance.

“And, pray tell, what does that mean, boy?” The rage behind his harmonious voice was felt by Kire and it shivered his spine. He stood his ground, however, rebelling against the cruel tone of his voice. He feared that he might be making a huge mistake but he took his chances many times before.

“Well it’s quite easy to understand Edwin, I’m surprised you don’t get it. It’s as you said before…” Kire lifted his head to face Edwin, green eyes shining with renouncement. He smiled. “So simple that an untrained monkey can understand.”

Edwin’s eyes widen with wrath at how Kire toyed with him.

“But what I mean to say is that the meal was made to please Lady Evelyn and properly accommodate her salad. I just like to talk fancy, Edwin.”

Evelyn’s chuckle was the trigger that set Edwin off. As Kire straightened himself out, Edwin swiftly jerked his arm to splash his wine on the man’s face. Kire cringed in pain as the liquid got in his eyes, Evelyn gasped in horror and Mr. Nicestone slammed his large hands against the table causing both his daughter and guest to look directly at him. His loud voice echoed slightly in the halls.

“Lord Edwin! What is the meaning of this?!” Mr. Nicestone questioned.

“I apologize for my outlandish behavior Mr. Nicestone.” Edwin frowned as he gently placed his glass on the table and attempted to resume eating his mashed potatoes. “I simply do not tolerate servants that talk to me as if I were a child. I should’ve heeded your warning about his smart mouth.”

“That gives you no right to perform the actions you just did!” Evelyn retorted.

“Indeed, that was very rude and out of character for you, Lord Edwin!” Mr. Nicestone added.

“I assure you this won’t happen again, I’ve learned my own lesson with this one servant.” Edwin scoffed. “However, I apologize for my actions, it was a rather ignorant thing for me to do.”

Kire rubbed the wine off his face and groaned in discomfort. Not only was Kire angry at Edwin’s little stunt, he realized he got away with it. One thing Kire cannot tolerate was injustices, sometimes he had to take things into his own hands to get even. Without saying a word, Kire removed the last specks of wine from his face and walked over to Edwin, bowing his head to show him sympathy. The man eyed the redhead suspiciously but said nothing of worth to him, silently eating his mashed potatoes while keeping his eyes closed. He half expected Kire to apologize and he was only half right.

“Please forgive me for belittling you, Edwin.” Kire lifted his head and glared down at the man. “It won’t happen again.”

“Very well, I hope you learned a valuable lesson today, boy.” Edwin snarled.

“I definitely did. I hope that you also learned a lesson today as well.”

“What lesson?” Edwin looked up at Kire with a look of hatred.

Without a second wasted, Kire grabbed the back of Edwin’s head and slammed his face against his mashed potatoes. Food splattered against the table and both wine glasses from Evelyn and Edwin toppled over by the force Kire used. His fingers curled against Edwin’s hair but he released him before he could do any more damage, taking a step back, he forced air out his nostrils and looked satisfied with his action. To mock Edwin, he answered his question.

“A lesson that you shouldn’t act so big in front of people you don’t know.”

“Kire!” Evelyn shouted but before she knew it, a pair of guards had already separated her and Edwin from Kire. She was moved to a safer distance, along with Edwin, while the guards kept Kire in a hard chokehold where the man clearly struggled to free himself.

“Take this man to his room now!” Mr. Nicestone ordered, his face red with fury. “He will not be allowed supper tonight! Lock his door to make sure he doesn’t escape! His behavior will absolutely not be tolerated in my household!”

The guards obeyed their master and dragged a flailing and screaming Kire to the room he was imprisoned to. Tossing the man into his room, the guards quickly locked the door to prevent Kire from escaping. With a loud groan and a cough, Kire rose to his feet and stood in the middle of the large room, taking a moment to think. Several thoughts ran by his conscious and only one in specific kept bothering him: Edwin Walters. The way that man treated Evelyn and even her father made him sick, he felt like he owed Evelyn an apology for not believing her but something kept on bothering him.

If she can beat the shit out of me, why doesn’t she pull that stunt with this swine? Kire pondered. Maybe she does like him underneath all that filth… women are weird. But Evelyn doesn’t look like the girl to let herself... Wait, what am I thinkin’?! What do I care?!

Kire sat down on the bed and let his tired body fall down with a gentle thud. Spreading his arms and staring at the ceiling, Kire now started to notice how truly hungry he was. His famished body demanded food and it wouldn’t even let him sleep by how much it pained him, all he could do is roll up and attempt to go to sleep to no avail. It wasn’t the first time Kire felt the grip of starvation but it was the first time he felt it after working so hard for a long period of time. He desperately wanted a shower to wash away the pain but he was trapped in his fancy prison. The longer he kept his eyes closed, the sooner he would drift himself to sleep and eventually forget about this whole day. His thoughts drifted to Evelyn and how beautiful she looked in her dress and how her smile captivated him. As much as he didn’t like her personality, he would never deny that she is a very gorgeous woman. He trailed on, thinking about the woman, nearly falling asleep, until he heard the door creak open. If the creak of the door didn’t fully alert him of someone’s presence, the clicking of the heels most certainly did.

Hoisting his head up to see who entered he was surprised to see the girl of his thoughts. Evelyn Nicestone stood by the entrance of the door with her half-finished plate of filet mignon. Kire rubbed his eyes and thought that it was just his mind playing tricks on him but he realized that it was entirely real thanks to the smell of the warm beef. He didn’t move, fearing that the guards will pull him into another headlock but Evelyn continued to walk further into the room, placing the plate on top of the only desk he had. The woman stood by the desk and seemed to gesture to Kire that his food was ready for consumption. Still refusing to move, Kire stared at her with a bewildered face and peered at the door assuming it was a trap to give the guards more reason to beat him. Evelyn followed his eyes and saw no guards by the door, mostly because they were all busy tending to Edwin for the moment. She crossed her arms and puffed her cheeks and Kire felt very awkward thanks to the silence between them. The least he could do was apologize to her for ruining a very important night but before he could say a word, Evelyn’s annoying voice slapped him to reality.

“Well, aren’t you gonna eat it?” She said while placing a hand on her hip. “It’s gonna get cold y’know.”

“Your father said that I shouldn’t be allowed anythin’ to eat.” Kire frowned.

“Oh, don’t mind him, he gets grumpy sometimes.” Evelyn rubbed her arm before letting her voice get low. “I… I want to thank you. You sure put the move on Edwin. It was hilarious when you smashed his face in the potatoes and—“

“Why are you doing this?” Kire said while staring intently at his food but refused to eat it. “You know you’ll get in trouble so why help me?”

Evelyn stared at the serious Kire, almost frightened by his demeanor but she kept her ground and answered him.

“Why not?” Evelyn shrugged. “You should eat something considering how hard you worked. Besides, it’s a nice gesture, don’t ruin it with your ‘thoughtful questions'.”
“Yeesh, and here I thought you were gonna give me some ‘deep' answer.” Kire chuckled before eating the food Evelyn generously offered him. He instantly forgot about his table manners which made Evelyn cringe slightly. “Anyways, that Edwin dude is a jerk, I don’t know how you put up with his bullshit.”

“Yeah, well… I have my reasons.” Evelyn was quick to change the subject which Kire noticed. “Hey Kire, remember when I told you to embarrass Edwin earlier today?”

“What about it?”

“Did you actually listen to me or did Edwin actually make you mad?”

Kire paused for a moment since he did consider Evelyn as his main motive for what he did. He was worried that the woman would tell her father but at this point, what could Mr. Nicestone do to him anyway? As he thought, he wondered why he actually considered even listening to Evelyn, let alone help her in her situation. The struggled showed on his face, Evelyn frowned before leaning in a little closer to Kire and eyeing his face, examining his stress. The room was mute until Kire finally took a deep breath and turned his head to boldly face Evelyn. The woman fumbled back at his sudden jerk, cheeks red with fluster and awkwardness. Her feet spread slightly and got into a stance Kire was too familiar with. The man started to laugh softly then it grew louder and louder, erupting into an uncontrollable cackle. Kire covered his face, wiping away the few tears that formed while Evelyn grew more weirded out and awkward. When Kire caught his breath, he looked back at the beautiful woman before him.

“Chillax, I ain’t gonna hurt you.” He locked eyes with hers. “I did half of each.”

“Half of each? What’s that mean?” Evelyn lowered her guard but kept a distance between the two.

“Means that I thought about you and I was pissed at Edwin.” He leaned back in the chair, balancing himself so he doesn’t fall backward. “You were right about the controllin’ issue, he’s gonna bark up the wrong tree one day.”

“But why would you care about my issue?”

“I never said I cared about your issue.” Kire immediately looked the opposite direction from Evelyn, gazing out the window. “I don’t care about you or the people you associate yourself with, I’m just here to get my chip back and clear my name from the bullshit your dad holds over me.”

Evelyn’s expression turned sour.

“However, I believe that you, along with anyone else, should be treated like a person and not an object or a toy.” Kire’s voice was soft and comforting. “Regardless of how I get treated by you or your family, it gives me no right to treat you the same way. You’re still a human… a rich, snobby, stubborn, bitchy human.”

“And you’re a filthy, malnourished, narcissistic, street rat!” Evelyn pouted. “You… you!”

“Easy there Evelyn, don’t burst a vein now.” Kire mocked. “Don’t wanna work that brain for the first time. Besides, a beautiful lady like you shouldn’t be saying such nasty things.”

Evelyn didn’t have anything to say other than to take the finished plate Kire gorged himself on. Kire seemed content about having filet mignon and he didn’t give any complaints to the woman. Evelyn paused for a second at the door and turned back slightly to face Kire, her face gentle as she spoke.

“Thanks for helping me either way, Kire… You're a lot nicer than you look.”

The woman soon drifted past the door which she closed behind her. Kire stared at the door and frowned at the situation Evelyn was stuck in. He wished he could do more to help but as of now, he couldn’t do anything while locked up. With a somewhat full stomach, Kire stood up and threw himself on the bed, his eyes too heavy to stay open. His thoughts wondered constantly about the events of today and the new information he’s gathered about the rooms in the house, Edwin, and Evelyn while he shifted himself on the fluffy bed. His head plopped on the soft pillows and the last thing he remembered before drifting off to sleep was how unconditionally and truly beautiful Evelyn looked in her blue dress.
With another day passing by, Kire realizes that today is a day off for all the workers. With a day as graceful as this one, Kire decides he wants to spend it all by himself, but Evelyn refuses to leave him alone once she finds out about his skills. When Kire spends time with Evelyn, he learns they have a few things in common and he cannot seem to shake her off his head.

Chapter 5

 As the morning rose, Kire slept in well past the usual morning hours and when he finally woke, his body was still sore from the abuse he endured yesterday thanks to Evelyn’s beat down. He groggily opened his eyes and groaned in annoyance when he forced himself to sit up and rise entirely out of bed. The room was engulfed by several popping noises as Kire stretched his arms then scratches his side lazily. He lifted his arm to take a smell of his armpit and coughed at the stench from all his hard work yesterday. Like his usual mornings, he always took a shower but thanks to his current situation he wondered if he can leave the room. Moving up to the door, he slowly opened it to peek outside and noticed no one guarding the door like before. He took this chance to run down the hallway and slip into the bathroom without anyone noticing he was gone. Once inside, he was amazed at how big the bathroom was; it was bigger than his entire one bedroom apartment. Everything was neatly arranged and each towel was crisp and clean, all having the Nicestone logo on it: the letters ‘NS’ etched into a wonderful and beautiful penmanship. Kire didn’t do much sightseeing of the bathroom before he started up the shower and stepped into the steaming waters.

By the time he finished, he had wrapped his lower half with one of the larger towels and dried off his hair with a smaller one. He felt cleaner than usual but it might be because of the fancy soap he used. His body and mind were both in different places today and he struggled to focus on a single thought, every time he thought about the events of yesterday, he found himself stubbing his toe or bumping into a wall because he didn’t pay attention. A deep breath was heard and Kire walked out of the steamy bathroom with nothing but a towel covering his lower parts. He walked down the hallway and left droplets of water that left a trail for anyone to find him.

Close to the room he was prisoned to, worked a maid, cleaning the floors with a broom or watering the flowers that hung close to the doors. She hummed with a carefree vibe and didn’t notice Kire walking up to her. As Kire approached his room, the maid turned around to see him and her face instantly went from cheery to horrified.

“Good mornin'.” Kire said to the maid, smiling.

The maid didn’t respond to Kire and only eyed his towel. She didn’t see a friendly man saying good morning but the man that Mr. Nicestone painted out. She took a step back and away from Kire while the grip on her broom tightened.

“Uhh… okay?” The man looked at the maid with a perplexed gaze. He ignored her defensive stance, mostly because he wasn’t going to do anything to the girl, and reached for the door handle. The maid instantly jumped back.

“Don’t touch me!” She yelped. “I know what you did!”


“You sneaked into Lady Evelyn’s room and attempted to rape her! Mr. Nicestone said he caught you red-handed and warned all the maids to stay away from you!” The young woman trembled before defensively switching the broom to protect herself. “You’re a creep!”

“Oh, for fuck sake…” Kire’s mood turned from good to grim in a second. It was too early in the morning for him to deal with this nonsense. He didn’t respond a defense for himself over such a ridiculous accusation. Grabbing the doorknob, he flung the door open and walked inside, slamming it shut before the maid’s face who stood awkwardly in the hall. “Now that man labeled me a rapist, go figure.”

Kire rolled his eyes at the thought but it didn’t bother him much, mostly because he knows that none of it is true. He removed the towel from his lower parts and stood there naked and without any care, wondering if he put on the same dirty clothes from yesterday. In his attempts to look for his clothes, he opened a drawer and found many copies of the exact same attire he was brought in with. Confused and astonished, he found his usual gray tank top, baggy khaki cargo shorts, an arsenal of fresh boxers and socks and even multiple types of bandanas. In another drawer, he found essentials like deodorant, combs, and cologne. Smiling at the generosity of the people he worked for, he found a soft spot for them…slightly. While he pulled out his fresh clothes from the drawer, a knock was heard from the door.

“Yeah, it’s open.” Kire confirmed while not looking away from the nicely folded clothes. He took hold of the deodorant and began to apply some to himself. In a way, he half expected it to be the maid from before to continue her pestering and find ways to get him in trouble.

The door opened and a familiar butler entered the room.

“Good morning Kire, I hope you slept well last night—“ The man stopped once he noticed a completely nude Kire. Cringing slightly at the unwanted sight, he kept himself composed and simply turned his head away from viewing any wrong parts. A tint of red embarrassment formed on Gerome’s cheeks followed by a groan of annoyance. “I see you’re up and well…”

“Yeah, I see you guys got me some new clothes,” Kire said while putting on a fresh pair of boxers. They were just the right size and perfect fit for his skinny body. “Why did’ja do that?”

“Because in this house you’re considered family, even if Lord Nicestone doesn’t take a liking to you.” Gerome smiled. “Besides, I doubt anyone would like to see a naked man running and working around the house.”

“Yeah, I guess not.”

Kire remained silent after Gerome had called him family. In a way, he felt bashful and even sheepish. The term family was somewhat of an enigma to Kire and how he views it can be vastly different from the people around him. Nonetheless, he felt flattered and let his gaze lowered slightly, he couldn’t help but smile at Gerome’s words. It didn’t take him long until he was fully dressed and ready to start the day a new with more work. His only worry was that it was the same labor intense job he had from yesterday. Still sore, he wasn’t looking forward to the work he might be given today. After his little show with Edwin yesterday, he felt as if everyone was out to get him but Evelyn’s words continue to circle his mind and he wondered if she had a reason for not liking the man. While his thoughts continue to trail about, he didn’t even listen to Gerome as he spoke to him; all the butler got was an empty green gaze from a blank face. The only voice he heard in his mind was the thanks Evelyn gave his last night. Confusion stormed his face while he tried to understand Evelyn’s words and why he thought so adamantly about them.

Did you really listen to me or did Edwin actually make you mad? Thanks for helping me either way, Kire…

“Kire? Hello? Earth to Kire?” Gerome said while waving a hand over his face. “Are you listening to me?”

“Huh?” Color rushed back to his eyes as he finally shook out of his trance. “Sorry, what did you say?”

“I said that all workers have a free day today,” Gerome said while holding up a clipboard. “Even you.”

“Huh, well I guess I can spend my time exploring this place.”

“Actually, I have a small task for you.” Gerome messed around on the clipboard and flipped some papers before holding out a few photos of what looked to be a broken pocket watch. “I heard you are quite the inventor so I was wondering if you can help fix this for me…”

Kire seized the photos from Gerome’s hand and gazed at them intently. He scoffed before handing the images back to Gerome.
“Sure, looks easy enough.”

Gerome’s face lightened up when Kire accepted his favor. He nodded before leading Kire downstairs to the workshop where many tools were stored and held. Thousands of devices of each type and caliber were hung on the walls, stored in drawers, or protected in cases. Everything was perfectly clean and organized and very well taken care of. The smell of the room was that of sawdust and wood chippings and the tinge smell of metal when it rubs against someone’s hand. Power tools and manual tools littered on a workbench, the bench itself was scratched and gashed with the constant use someone put on it. Kire managed to smell a hint of rubber and plaster and glue. His lungs were filled with true ecstasy. At the center of the large workbench was a small, solid gold pocket watch, identical to the one Gerome showed him. It looked like a regular broken watch to some but Kire saw a helpless animal that was suffering on a bench. While Gerome turned on the backlights, Kire saw the entirety of the room and he felt in heaven: this was all he needed to confirm his stay here and it was finally worthwhile. Glittering eyes, rapid heartbeat and sweaty palms, the man took his first step forward in this new room. Time was slow for him as he tried his best to process the possibilities he can conjure up in this room.

In the midst of the room, Kire barely managed to snap out of it and turned to Gerome. For once, the butler saw a real and genuine smile from Kire ever since his arrival. He didn’t say a word and only walked Kire to the bench that held the pocket watch and the tools needed to fix one.

“I’ve tried to fix it myself, but nothing worked.” Gerome sighed. “I even called a professional and he said that it was broken beyond repair.” As Gerome spoke, Kire was already on his way to handle the situation with the pocket watch. “Hey, are you listening?”

“I am, don’t worry,” Kire replied. “Why do you wanna fix this watch so much?”

“That is none of your business.” Gerome’s voice trailed away slightly. “Just fix it for me, okay?”

Kire switched his gaze from the watch to Gerome and decided not to continue to pester the man for a reason. He assumed it was special for him and that’s why he wanted to fix it so badly. Regardless of what his intentions were, he made sure not to ruin Gerome’s mood.

“Ok. I’ll get to it when I’m done looking at all the wonderful stuff in this room.” Kire nodded. “Maybe I can build a new laptop and—“ He felt a strong stare coming from Gerome.

Gerome remained silent but glared at Kire.

“Alright, alright! I’ll fix this watch for you since it means that much to you. Just give me an hour and I’ll see what I can do. Sound good? Just step out and wait outside.”

“Very well. Please be gentle with the watch, it’s a bit old.”

Kire nodded and quickly got to work on the small pocket watch. Gerome was hesitant about leaving Kire alone in a place where he can quickly grab a weapon or make one from scratch but for unknown reasons, he trusted the man for the time being. The look Kire gave him when he entered the room didn’t have a hint of malice or ill intentions which left him confident that he would do no harm. He left for a moment only to return with a chair to sit on while he patiently waited the stressful hour to hear the news about his pocket watch. It was clear that his devotion to this watch was unmatched if he was willing to get a complete stranger work and fix it. While rooted in this thoughts, Gerome noticed how quiet the house was when no one was working; it stunned him because he never saw it before. The hall was soft and the house was calm. He gazed out the window and on to the beautiful garden that rested outside. The scene relaxed his mind and eased his soul for the moments he stared outside. The wind blew flower pedals of all colors into the sky and the birds sounded like a choir against the warm rays of the sun, each flying off into the distance to create a gentle and holy echo. Spring was approaching and nature was evident in showing it to the Nicestone Mansion. Gerome fiddled with his fingers and continued to wonder the fate of his watch, uneasy and tense despite the beautiful scene before him. He shook his head, reminding himself not to stress out so much about a mechanical object. After a while, he decided to get up and pace up and down the hall and eventually the whole floor in its entirety.

I shouldn’t stress so much, especially when the day is giving me nothing but a smile. Gerome thought to himself. Jeez, I seem to get worked up quite easily… I should schedule a hot bath later on.

With today being a free day, he saw the other maids and butlers sitting in the dining room and chatting while eating breakfast. His worried face softened upon seeing his familiar friends and coworkers. At the end of the dining table was Mr. Nicestone and next to him was Lady Evelyn, both of which wore casual clothes for a chilly Sunday morning. Upon seeing Gerome enter into view, Mr. Nicestone waved a bulky hairy arm to get his attention and gestured him to come sit next to Evelyn. With a little hesitation, Gerome was finally persuaded to sit and eat a plentiful breakfast with the group while getting morning wishes from them. He smiled at the thought of calling these people his family but in a way, he wished they were as friendly and forgiving to Kire as they were to him. However, he decided to not bring up the topic of the redhead to anyone as of now, fearing that he could possibly get in trouble for not keeping an eye on him.

Munching on his favorite English muffin and strawberry jam Gerome chuckled at the jokes and stories Mr. Nicestone told about Evelyn in her infant years, most of which he knew since he worked for the family around the time of Evelyn’s younger years. Evelyn groaned at her father’s stories and flicked a piece of bacon off her plate and on to his chest to which both laughed. The bond between father and daughter always left a tender sensation in his heart because it reminded him of his own father. He always wished the best for Evelyn and strived to make her bond with her father stronger each day. When days like this come out, he felt blessed to be in the hands of a wonderful person like Mr. Nicestone. All the days each servant work can all be washed away with a single talk and gather for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In a way, he wished Kire can be here to enjoy this moment but he knew people would treat him far differently. As the time passed and the hall got less crowded and the workers returned to their free day, Gerome sat silently. As Mr. Nicestone was finishing off his last piece of toast, he eyed Gerome suspiciously. Evelyn turned to face the man and her father spoke out.

“Is something troubling you, Gerome?” His voice deep and strong.

“Oh, uhm!” Gerome stared at his Lord and shook his head bashfully. “It’s nothing, my Lord. I was just thinking about something.”

“What may that be?”

“I was just wondering about all the wonderful things you’ve done for all of your servants right here in your home.” Gerome smiled gently. “You’re very kind to all of us here, Lord Nicestone. However, the redhead… don’t you think sending him off without dinner is a tad bit harsh?”

Mr. Nicestone looked lost and somewhat ashamed for his actions last night, all clear by the look on his face. While he truly respected all his servants and looked at them as his family, he did take Gerome’s words into consideration, mainly since it involved the well-being of his daughter in a way. Mr. Nicestone, however, was very rigorous with manners and his guests.
“Well, yes, I suppose so.” The bulky man finally replied. “However his rude behavior will not be tolerated in my house. No matter how rude our guests can be, it should be the wiser to simply turn the other cheek. I am in agreement that his behavior was provoked by Edwin’s ego.”

Gerome nodded to his Lord. A breath of relief was heard.

“Yes. I assumed you did not like the man.”

“Oh no, I don’t like him at all for the attempted acts of deflowering my precious daughter.” The father growled under his breath. “I will not sit back and allow anyone to touch my daughter.”

Evelyn’s cheeks flushed slightly at the thought of her father being so adamant about her protection, but she always looked at it as somewhat annoying since it always prevented her from finding male friends. She knew that Kire did not attempt to harm her but no matter what she told her father she knew that he would not believe her. The roll of her eyes made it apparent where she stood on that point. When something was set in her father’s mind, there was nothing in this world that could change it.

“Speaking of the redhead, where is he?” Mr. Nicestone asked while sipping on some coffee. “I thought he was in your care, Gerome.”

Gerome’s eyes widened when he realized that he has been gone and speaking with the family for well over an hour. His tan skin turned pale and the fear expressed on his face was both notable and comical. He didn’t want to make it evident that he left the man all alone so he merely cleared his throat and rose from his seat all while trying to look as casual as possible and give no implications of his error. His only fear is that his Lord will lash at Kire for being all alone and unsupervised.

“He’s still soundly asleep in his room. No worries my lord, I will wake him swiftly so he can eat a fine meal.” Gerome swallowed hard. “Please excuse me my Lord and Lady Evelyn.”

After a quick courtesy bow of the head to his superiors, he calmly walked to the hall and once he was out of view from the two, he dashed down to the warehouse area of the home. His thoughts ran wild as he assumed that Kire was building a sort of weapon or had escaped somehow. Panic swarmed his face and he wondered if what he did was actually a good idea. Gerome had always been a worrisome man and more often than naught the most straightforward errors would still give him a run for his thoughts. Thoughts of Kire building a makeshift spear, sword, or even a gun raced through his mind and his eyes widen at the very idea, causing him to pick his fast walk to a slight jog. Upon reaching the warehouse area, he hastily opened the door and gasped for a quick breath of air. What he saw instantly caused his shoulders to slump and his nerves run cold.

Kire was working on what looked to be a small laptop-like item. In each hand, he held a unique tool to deal with small objects and what is assumed to be glue. How Kire managed to build what he did with just the amount of materials he found was astonishing. He had only gotten a base prepared and appeared to be working on each keyboard key individually. No weapon in sight and no ill intentions from Kire’s side. Kire barely even looked phased when Gerome came rushing in and didn’t pay him any attention. As he promised to Gerome, he not only fixed the watch but he managed to behave himself in the process. Before Gerome managed to say a word to Kire, the redhead lifted his head away from his work and offered a kind wave and smile to Gerome. The smile was the same smile Kire held when he first arrived in the warehouse: one of pure joy and happiness. The workbench Kire had grown so close to was cleaned while he was there and everything looked to be in top condition from the last time Gerome visited. The entire area, at least the one close to the door, had been adequately taken care of despite barely anyone going in the room.

Gerome was fascinated. All the negative thoughts he had of Kire disappeared once he realized that the man kept his word. However, he wondered why he would keep it so firmly the way he did. With no supervision, Kire could have easily made a weapon or escaped thanks to Gerome’s carelessness. He didn’t let that lower his guard as he approached Kire to get a better view of his favorite pocket watch. When he did, he noticed how remarkably shiny and well-polished it is but it did not deter his initial thoughts of why he left it there to begin with. He felt Kire’s cocky smile grow as he opened the watch and saw the ticking hand moving at a steady rhythm. The time was set and everything in the pocket watch worked precisely as it should. A wave of delight flowed all over Gerome at the sight of his watch working in perfect condition. When he glanced at Kire, he only saw the redhead raise an eyebrow in amusement, no doubt enjoying the look on Gerome’s face.

“So, wha’cha think?” Kire said while he rested an elbow on the workbench and his head atop his hand. “Looks totally brand new, eh?”

“How did you do this?” Gerome questioned, still on guard. “This is in an impeccable quality, almost as if made right in the factory.”

“The only thing that was wrong with it was the spring. I can’t believe you paid professionals to look at it and they couldn’t figure out it was a simple spring error.” Kire looked unimpressed. “All I did was change that spring and polish it up. Most of the time I was working on this.” Kire nudged his shoulder at half the laptop he was making.

“How long did it take you to fix my watch?”

“Uhhh… about twenty, twenty-five minutes? Give or take.”

Gerome was taken back at the skills Kire possessed and how easily he was able to work with them. Not only was Kire skilled in fixing things but he was a phenomenal inventor that needed minimal materials to make even the most complex objects. And to Kire, it all looked like a basic task he could take on anytime, anywhere. The potential Kire held in his inventing skills shocked Gerome, almost terrified him. In a way, Kire is a threat far beyond anything he or even the family could take on if given time to create his crafts which only confused Gerome even more as to why he didn’t leave when he could. All the thoughts he had about the man were swirling around in his apparent paranoia. Despite his views on the situation, he was still grateful to Kire’s efforts.

“Well, thank you very much.” Gerome bowed his head awkwardly. “I really appreciate it.”

“No problem.” Kire lifted his head slightly to pay attention to the person by the door’s entrance. His tone was somewhat seductive and his face completely overconfident. “Hey cutie~.”

“Wha--?” Gerome quickly turned around to see the rolling eyes of Lady Evelyn. The woman crossed her arms and stared directly at Gerome. “By God! L-Lady Evelyn! What are you doing here?!”

“I wanted to see if Kire was finally awake but noticed that he wasn’t in his room so I decided to look for him.” She answered. “I overheard your voice and decided to follow it. I see that Kire was awake for a while and left in here to invent pointless toys.”

“They ain’t toys you witch.” Kire spat. “Besides, Gerome here wanted me to fix his watch or something. Ain’t that right?”

“Y-Yes.” Gerome choked.

“You fixed his watch? Pfft, yeah right! Gerome had to call the professionals, and even they couldn’t fix it. Do you take me for an idiot?” Evelyn gawked.

“Why don’t you ask Gerome yourself?” Kire shoved Gerome slightly to Evelyn’s direction and was rewarded with a strong glare. “Go on, make her look dumb, shouldn’t be too hard.”

Gerome stared at Evelyn and gently revealed his antique pocket watch to the woman. He showed how the ticking hand was functioning as if it were brand new and the time had correctly displayed on view. Evelyn remained silent at the demonstration and her eyes slowly trailed over to Kire who was too busy working on his custom laptop to pay attention to her expression. The woman just nodded to Gerome and her skepticism went to rest upon realizing that Kire and the butler were not lying to her.

“Well then, I guess I should give you some credit, Kire.” Evelyn boasted. “But you still won’t impress me unless you do a job for me.”

“Oh, the horror…” Kire said sarcastically. “How will I ever live without impressing you.”

“Hmph, don’t talk so high and mighty when I tell Dad what you were doing! He’s going to make sure you never enter this place again.”

Kire paused for a second at the risk of never seeing this piece of heaven again and his face flushed; the thought of never returning made a cold shiver slip up his spine. Thanks to his love for inventing and computers, he knew he had no choice but to listen to Evelyn’s plea.

Sheesh, if she runs to her dad, then I’m seriously screwed. Kire sighed in defeat. And it’s not like he’ll believe a word I’ll say anyway…I don’t have much a choice.

“Lady Evelyn, let’s not jump to conclusions…” Gerome said with a worried smile. “I will be to blame as well since I was supposed to keep an eye on him…”

“It’s alright Gerome.” Kire stretched his arms and popped his shoulders. “I’ll see what she wants and get it over with. Maybe I can show her a thing or two about what I can really do.”

“Glad you see things my way.” Evelyn giggled. “Now then, Gerome, you are dismissed.”

Gerome didn’t agree to leave Kire all alone with Evelyn but he knew that the girl was no pushover to others; a strong-willed girl like her made him worry more for Kire. He shot a look to Evelyn as if to ask her if she’s really okay with letting Kire work on her stuff and her bright smile eased him of any worries but filled him with sympathy for Kire now that he was at her mercy. The butler bowed his head to his superior and then to Kire to thank him for fixing his precious watch then swiftly departed from the room. As the man left Evelyn turned her attention to Kire who looked as bored as ever, no doubt wanting to finish his task as soon as possible and rid himself of such a stressful girl. Before Kire managed to utter a word he saw Evelyn jutted a finger in front of his face then point to the laptop he was working on; Her voice sounded more pleasant to Kire.

“Are you good with computers? Like, programming them and stuff?”

“Yeah..?” Kire grew suspicious.

“Ok, think you can make it so my laptop can download–or whatever, my favorite shows? They recently canceled one of my childhood shows and I know they still air reruns online somewhere…”

“That’s it?”

“Yup.” Evelyn lowered her voice slightly to hide her embarrassment. “I kinda didn’t understand the videos that explained how to do it and I also think I downloaded a virus or something…”

Kire began to burst in a fit of laughter at Evelyn’s little request and her attempt to solve it on her own. A massive wave of relief waved across his chest when he realized that it wasn’t a big problem as he thought it was and he would be out of this mess sooner than he thought. Evelyn wasn’t so happy with Kire’s laughing fit which forced her cheeks to turn red from embarrassment and anger.

“Quit laughing! It’s not funny!” Evelyn pouted.

“Relax Evelyn,” Kire said while catching his breath. “I can fix your problem in no time at all, just show me your laptop and I’ll handle the rest.”

“Hmph… you better do it right!”

“Yeah yeah…”

The female wasted no time in directing Kire out of the magnificent tool house room and up to several flights of stairs, all of which the redhead kept a memory of as he toured the mansion. It was a small while before they finally reached a pastel pink door with lilacs creating a crown-like arc over the top of the door. On the wood was a large and elegant ‘E’ which no doubt stood for her name. The hallway barely had any doors that lead to other rooms and had a very unique lavender smell to it. The sensation made Kire feel like he was on a cloud or enter a state of euphoria; he enjoyed it. Compared to the rest of the house this is where Kire felt the safest. However, a thought lingered in the back of his head: If anyone saw him this close to Evelyn how will he explain himself? Everyone in the house already has mixed views about him and hanging out with Evelyn will only enforce some of them.

Before Kire can think up any answers, Evelyn opened her door and inside was the same room he snuck into a few days earlier, but it felt different to him. The first time he entered he barely registered how the room was but now, after taking a second glance, he realized it was a typical, albeit big, room. This whole time he assumed that rich people were snobby with their rooms and usually over decorate with useless things for the sake of wasting money but this room made him question Evelyn and her stance in the prosperous society. He watched Evelyn move to a desk and open a sky blue colored laptop, preparing it for whatever Kire was going to do. Kire retook a glance around the room while awkwardly standing by the doorway refusing to come in.

“You can come in you know.” Evelyn said.

“What if someone else comes in and gets the wrong idea?” Kire said crossing his arms. “I’m not exactly on good terms, especially around you.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll just tell them that you came to fix my laptop. They’ll believe me, trust me.”

“Well…” Kire hesitantly entered the pure room. “If I get beat up or anything I’ll never help you again. That’s a promise.”

“Oh please, don’t be a child…” Evelyn stepped away from her cute laptop and slid the chair for Kire to sit on. “Anyways, do you need anything specific?”

              Kire took a seat and stared at the screen of the laptop, examining everything Evelyn had on display. He ignored the female and when he opened up her internet browser, he began to type away for certain keywords. Evelyn stood beside him as he looked up things on several sites and downloading a few things; it was all so fast and so precise that she couldn’t keep up, let alone understand, what Kire was doing. When she glanced at Kire’s face her eyes widen at the hypnotized expression he had as he continued to mess around her laptop. A couple minutes passed and all the typing from the keyboard and clicking of the mouse had stopped in unison. Evelyn peered from behind Kire’s back and stared at her screen only to see a new software open and show that something finished downloading. She got worried that he might have hurt her laptop but a pop-up appeared on the screen and it read as:


              All of Evelyn’s doubt and worry grew as she watched Kire relax and become laid back on the chair. The screen went blank and the reboot continued onto the password screen where Kire stared at Evelyn, almost as if asking her what the password to her laptop was. Understanding his gesture, the female shook her head at his attempt and Kire only shrugged, moving to the side and turning his back on the girl so she can enter the password. Hesitant at first, Evelyn eyed Kire with suspicion, assuming he would look as she was typing.

              “You better not look…” Evelyn said as she hid her typing hands from Kire’s view. “And you better not have done anything funny either.”

              “Are you done yet?” Kire said while yawning slightly.

              “Yeah, sheesh.”

              Kire then turned around on the chair and waited patiently for Evelyn to move out of the way. The way he acted around her made Evelyn question if he’s really a jerk or not but, nonetheless, she still kept his doubts about him and his motives. Her large brown eyes shifted over to Kire’s work and noticed a program open up and engulf her computer screen on a black screen that is similar to a movie screen right before the film began. As Kire continued to fiddle around he clicked on an obvious search bar and turned to face Evelyn who was gradually inching her way closer to him. They met face to face, inches apart, to which Kire smirked and puckered his lips to annoy her.

              “I know I’m irresistible hun’.” Kire chuckled. “So why don’t you give me a sweet lil’ kiss eh?” He was quickly rewarded with a hit to his smug face. The smug left his face and switched to Evelyn.

              “Why don’t I knock your teeth out next time?” Evelyn smirked.

              “Yeah yeah…” Kire rubbed the side of his head. “Anyways, what stupid show did you wanna see? I can search it from this program as long as you have internet.”

              “It’s not stupid! It’s called Lizard Ball Z.”

              “Lizard Ball Z?” Kire’s eyebrow rose with curiosity and surprise. “I used to watch that show as a kid too! Heh, you may be a shrew but you got a good taste in shows.”

              “You watched it too?” Evelyn’s reaction copied Kire’s. “That’s pretty cool! How far along did you get?”

              “I last left off when that pink candy monster was fighting Gukon and Virgilla.” Kire said as he typed away to find the show listed on the program. Once he found the complete season collection that was available, he proceeded to download it to Evelyn’s computer. “That’s about as far as I remember too. Anyways, I got your show down and registered. All you need to do is open this program and click on the show you want. You can put some in your favorites' list to get to them even quicker. Search any foreign shows you want and have fun.”

              “Alright, how much is this going to cost me? Is it a monthly subscription?”

              “What?” Kire scratched his head slightly annoyed. “It’s completely free to use and free to have. You don’t need to pay anything, even for high definition.”

              Evelyn’s face looked stunned, but she only stared at the screen which showed the program and the hundreds of episodes that the show had. Kire rose from his seat and allowed Evelyn to take a seat and watch her show while he showed her the works of how to use the program. Once Evelyn got the basics down she began to search other shows that Kire was familiar with. He wanted to leave but her interest in shows was the same as his; while he refused to admit it, he wanted to stay and watch some of the shows with Evelyn or admit to her that he watched the same thing. His eyes watched as a majority of the shows she liked were action and sci-fi cartoons, most of which he saw a few episodes here and there. Kire backed away from Evelyn, leaving her room without making a noise to distract her, however, a childish smirk formed on his face knowing that at least he can talk to her about shows they both like and viewed as kids and never outgrew.

              As Kire left the room, he traveled silently across the hallway, trying to remember his blurry childhood years. He barely remembered much about his parents, but the few memories he did have were pleasant to him. The last thing he could remember is hearing his mother cry, begging him not to leave as young as he did. Why was he having all these thoughts all of a sudden, especially after he did a simple task for Evelyn? He brushed it off with a scoff and thought nothing too deep about it. It wasn’t long until Kire found himself traveling to the kitchen to finally eat something, but once he was there, he was overwhelmed by how many things he can choose from to eat.

              Aw man, all this stuff to eat but I don’t know how to cook it… Kire sighed. I guess I can stock up on snacks or something but I think a sandwich wouldn’t hurt.

              Kire dug around the fridge to search for his favorite ingredients and any sort of snacks he can sneak along with his sandwich. He crowded the counter with many ingredients while he tried his best to keep everything as clean as possible to give less work to the cleaners, considering it was a free day for everyone. Every utensil he used was washed, every bit of trash was placed in a separate bag for him to toss out, and every crumb out of place was swept up to make the kitchen extra clean. Kire parted the ingredients on the plate so he can assemble it better in the comfort of his room and once he felt confident that he can muster more than one sandwich with the ingredients at hand, he snagged a large bag of chips in his mouth and left off with his plate of food.

              Kire was careful not to drop anything or make any sort of mess to avoid a problem with the cleaners. He was quick to slip into his room and closed the door behind him using his foot. He tossed the chips on the only desk in his room followed by the plate but he noticed that he was missing a drink. His eyes trailed back to the door and soon he was out and back with about three cans of soda and a trash bag to throw any extra food away. When Kire sat down and placed the cans on the desk next to his waiting plate of food is when he felt a horrible feeling of absolute loneliness. The room was quiet and the air was still, it was choking Kire by how heavy the weight pressed on his chest; there, he stared at his food with little interest and a sudden loss of appetite. The man took in a sharp breath and dug his face into his hands, his fingers messing up his hair and ultimately removing his bandana. For the first time in a while, Kire felt very agitated and insecure, but the cause of why eluded him and frustrated him even more. For a while, he didn’t have anything to stimulate himself with other than the short time he had in the workbench to fix Gerome’s watch and he didn’t have time to take the laptop part with him since he was rushed by Evelyn. He wanted to go and get it but he assumed that the place was locked down or they would just not allow him to enter. The man stared blankly at his food and let his thoughts to wonder violently in his head which only proved to discomfort him even more.

              Man, what’s up with me? Kire groaned in agony. Why am I feeling like this? I must be so hungry that I’m getting some sort of episode or something. Still… I shouldn’t feel like this and it’s making me lose my appetite…

              Kire let out a sigh and slowly began to assemble a sandwich in absolute silence and boredom, staring blankly at the wall in front of him and taking a bite. The food didn’t taste like anything in Kire’s mouth so he quickly swallowed his mouthful and placed the sandwich down to glare at the ceiling. There was no doubt he needed something to entertain himself with or waste the time he will ultimately spend in this room. On the outside, he was slightly agitated, but mentally he was screaming and suffering from his boredom but since there was nothing he could do about he merely had to deal with it like he did with everything else. He took another bite of his sandwich and his temper did not get any better with each bite. Gradually, Kire began to show signs of annoyance thanks to his boredom, only when he heard a knock on his door did he suddenly calm down his from mental rage and discouragement; however, he was too lazy to get up and answer the door himself.

              “Yeah, it’s open.” Kire said while taking another bite. When the door finally opened, he saw the beautiful Evelyn holding her laptop.

              “Hey.” The woman said as she walked in.

              “What do you want now? Did you break it already? Why are you here?” Kire narrowed his eyes.

              “I’m here so we can watch Lizard Ball. I thought it would be cool to watch it with someone who also watched and liked it as well. C'mon, it'll be fun!”

              “Then why don’t you watch it with your friends or something, you’ll only get me in trouble if I’m around you.”

              “They don’t like Lizard Ball and think it’s dumb. They don’t like watching cartoons since it’s made for kids. Hmph, they’re kinda stuck up if you ask me.” Evelyn ignored Kire’s last statement and sat herself down on his bed while fiddling around with the program Kire installed. “Okay, I think I got the hang of this computer program thing. Now I just gotta—“

              “Go away.” Kire said bluntly.


              “Look girlie, I’m not in a good situation thanks to you. Your little show got me in huge trouble and now people are giving me all sorts of nasty looks and spreading rumors about how I was gonna rape you or something. Now people don’t even wanna go near me fearing I’ll attack them or worse and they especially don’t want me near you. So why don’t you just get out of here and save me a beating before your guards come here and—“

              “Oh shut up already.” Evelyn remained unfazed by Kire’s insults and set her computer to the side. She rose to her feet and pointed a finger right at his face to which he instantly backed up. “First of all, don’t call me girlie. Second, you’ve been talking nonstop about the same thing and it’s driving me nuts. Listen, when I say you’re okay hanging out with me then that’s that! Quit acting like being around me is a curse or something, shit.”

              Kire went silent at Evelyn’s response and could not think up an intelligent or witty remark. She had a point but the uncertainty showed in Kire’s face even after she finished scolding him. Evelyn’s face softens slightly and she let out a sigh knowing and understanding the trouble she put Kire in. It was only natural for him to act the way he did and she was partially to blame for his actions and words. She returned to the bed and sat down while looking at her laptop, her words soft.

              “Look, if anyone gives you a hard time, I’ll set them straight. Just because you’re here against your will doesn’t mean you should be treated like trash. As long as I’m around, I’ll let people know you are not hurting me, alright?” She looked back at Kire who shifted slightly in his seat but stared directly into her eyes. “I promise.”

              “Fine.” Kire let out a long sigh. “So why are you here again?”

              “I wanna watch Lizard Ball with you since you also watched it as a kid. We can both talk about it and just have fun!” Her smile showed the sincerity and beauty of her honesty. “Besides, you must be so bored being locked up in this room all day, so relax and enjoy yourself Kire! You even have snacks for binge-watching episodes.”

              “Snacks?” Kire stared to where Evelyn directed him and saw his entire meal. “Oh no, this is my meal for the day! Don’t think I’m letting you have it!”

              “Too late!” Evelyn dashed to the plate and snagged it from the desk. Kire struggled to get it back but wasn’t fast enough. Every time he reached out to get the plate back, Evelyn would effortlessly swipe it away from his grasp. “I’ll give this back to you if you agree to watch Lizard Ball with me. Please! No one else wants to watch it with me since they don’t get it…”

              “I said yes earlier! Now gimmie my food!”

              “Yeah!” Evelyn returned the food to Kire and began to show off how well she handled the program despite knowing only the basics. It didn’t impress Kire but it made him chuckle.

              When the show started, Kire noticed how childish Evelyn was and how proud she gets when she wants to prove her point. She didn’t let herself get stepped on and will always voice her mind no matter what it was, even if it meant annoying people, primarily him. His eyes occasionally trailed to gaze at her figure but he didn’t attempt to do anything to upset her. As the cartoon played on the laptop, both of them laughed at certain scenes, disagreed with others, and got excited about the action, both acting like kids who just became friends. The two of them snacked on their hand-made sandwiches and nibbled on chips and drank soda before watching more episodes lying on their stomachs. Kire’s pressure of loneliness and boredom disappeared as he talked and laughed with Evelyn, genuinely enjoying himself since the first time he’s been here. As he spoke with Evelyn, he found out how thought-provoking her statements were and she wasn’t just a dumb or childish girl. She kept him on his toes when they argued or debated certain decisions made by the characters which usually end up in both of them re-watching the episode and switching opinions or dismissing their thoughts entirely.

              They decided to give Lizard Ball a rest, both looking up new shows that were airing around the world and give their opinions based on the first episode. Evelyn was eager to show Kire more of the shows she watched as a kid and Kire was always happy to judge and joke at how childish Evelyn is. Before long, the day was quickly turning into dusk and Evelyn’s laptop was slowly running out of battery, so they decided to watch one last episode of a dramatic romance show they both saw. It was cheesy but lovable and what stuck out the most were the characters which Kire and Evelyn made a note of. For some reason, the female character reminded Kire of Evelyn: outspoken, strong-willed, and fearless. It made him think about why Evelyn would even spend a moment of her time with him now that he’s realized how late it was getting. He didn’t want to ask her and ruin her day, so he decided to think about it later on as he attempted to go to sleep tonight, changing the subject to current events and news.
     As he spoke with Evelyn about the current events of today he realized that she was very insightful and far more intelligent than he imagined and her ideologies kept him on his toes; it was exciting him! Not only was Kire able to understand Evelyn but she was able to completely understand him and provide support or a powerful counterargument against his thoughts but never lead up to a battle of insults. Both of them were almost equally matched but shared some differences. Compared to Kire, Evelyn was much more helpful and warm to others and only wished to seek a better world for the people living in it while Kire was more down to earth and approached things from different angles to solve a problem. They were almost exact opposites. The thought lingered slightly in Kire’s head longer than he expected because it bothered him slightly. Kire’s thought of Evelyn changed drastically when he was given a chance to really sit down and talk to her and he thought the girl was a lot better than he gave her credit for. He wanted to continue talking to Evelyn but realized that it was getting very late so he opted to hold the conversation for tomorrow. The girl didn’t want to leave because she was caught up in the conversation.

              “Aww, I don’t want to go to bed!” Evelyn whined.

              “Yeah, well, I going to get hammered hard by your servants and worked to the bone so I need my rest for tomorrow.” Kire yawned.

              “Oh, right…” Evelyn frowned at Kire’s remark. She grabbed her laptop and nodded to him. “Let’s walk back to my room at least.”


              The two of them took their time walking back to Evelyn’s room and the entire house was very dark. Barely able to see a few feet in front of him, Kire didn’t seem too alarmed but it surprised him to see that even with pure white walls, the entire hallway looked like it never ended and continued forever into darkness. While Kire was perfectly fine with the dark, Evelyn kept very close to him and made sure to keep him within her line of slight; it annoyed him whenever she bumped on to him or stepped on his foot. He assumed that she was afraid of the dark and quietly chuckled at her fear. Evelyn crept closer to Kire until she found herself wrapping her arm around his to comfort her. The man didn’t say a word and rolled his eyes at how childish she was acting. He thought it would be best to let her continue this game until they reach her door. When they finally arrived, Kire yanked his arm free from her grasp and opened the door to her room which showed the light from a lamp she left on. The light coming from the room apparently calmed Evelyn down and she was able to move away from Kire and enter her room. Confusion stormed Kire’s face.

              “Dude, are you scared of the dark or something?” Kire asked.

              “No, not really… I’m just scared that something is going to come and attack me like in the movies…”

              “Pfft, that’s dumb.”

              “S-Shut up! You won’t think it’s dumb when you get the piss scared out of you!”

              “Yeah yeah… Anyways, I got you to your room so now I’m leaving.”

              “Wait! Hold on!”

              “What?! What do you want now?!” Kire said as he got more annoyed and agitated.

              Evelyn dashed into her room and quickly began to search for something. It wasn’t long until she returned to the door with a notebook and a few fancy pens at hand. She shoved the items to Kire who stumbled to accept them into his arms.

              “I thought I’d give you something to pass the time and relieve some stress after a hard day at work.” Evelyn smiled. “You spend all day locked up in that room or working your ass off so I can only imagine how bored and tired you get…”

              There was a small awkward pause before Kire finally replied to Evelyn.

              “Errm, thanks.”

              “No problem. And one last thing," Evelyn smiled brightly at Kire. "I had a wonderful time with you. You're so interesting to talk to, and you are nothing like I imagined you'd be. You're something else... Let's do this again sometime soon. Anyways, good night.”

              Kire watched her close her door and stood silently in the dark for a minute before shrugging off his thoughts and walking back to his room in the shadows of the hall. Once he arrived in his room, he tossed the notebook and pens on the desk then stared at the plate of food he bought earlier and snacked with Evelyn and realized there was enough for roughly half a sandwich left. Taking advantage of his scraps, he made a meal for himself and thought about the weird events of today when his eyes shifted to the notebook Evelyn gave him. He took another bite of his half-sandwich before sitting on the chair in front of his desk and opening the notebook he will consider his journal or idea book. Grabbing a pen and spinning it between his fingers idly, Kire began to write down the thoughts of what happened today. Minutes turned into an hour as when he finally came to a stop he noticed how tired he was. He knew that he would be sleepy when he woke up to work but at least he could return to his journal when he needs to express his thoughts. Heavy eyes forced Kire to head straight to his bed, leaving the desk as a mess, but he slept with a smile on his face; the food was remarkably delicious today and that content smile was all the proof anyone could need.
Kire spends another day trapped in the Nicestone estate against his will. He is woken up by another hard day of chores; however, not all is going well. When Kire is confronted with a situation that is out of his control, he cannot defend himself. The day is long and the pain is immense. When things get out of line, who will be there for Kire when he can no longer defend himself?


 The day rose with the chirping of birds, bright rays of the sun, and a loud banging noise from one of the guards slamming open Kire’s door for a rude awakening. Kire instinctively rose from the bed and rolled to the side which caused him to fall off the edge and further confuse him more than he already was. Being tangled in the sheets and struggling to make sense of the last few seconds, Kire was pulled up by a bulky hand and plopped on his feet. The same incredible arms gripped his shoulders and forced him to straighten himself out; there was no doubt that the grip on his shoulders was a death grip. Kire squirmed slightly but relaxed when his senses were finally catching up to what was going on. Shining emerald eyes locked on to the familiar butler who had a list of what Kire needed to do today and he felt his body ache at how much was scribbled on the paper. Kire shoved the guard’s hands off his shoulders and dusted himself of their grip before turning to Gerome with lazy eyes and messy red hair. The head butler cleared his throat and stared at the guard before nodding to him and without question, the man returned to Gerome’s side with his arms behind his back.

              “I see you slept well.” Gerome began. “But I believe that Mr. Nicestone told me that you are to work garden and stair duty today.”

              “Yeah yeah… Well, let’s get this over with.” Kire yawned. “The sooner I can finish this stupid job the sooner I can go back to sleep.”

              “Very well. Please get dressed and wait for me by the main entrance.”

              Kire waved Gerome and the guard out of his room and both of them complied. He was in no mood to work but he had no choice in the matter so he had to get used to it eventually. He began to dress himself knowing that if he took too long the guard from before would barge in and drag him out. His usual white tang top, typical baggy Capri shorts, shoes, and trademark bandanna were what he chose to wear today. He stretched his arms until they popped and cracked, making him feel loose. He glanced at the window and saw the sun shine down intensely at the yard and realized that today was going to be a long hot day. A sigh of disappointment slipped from his lips and he shook his head knowing what was to come. He opened the door and headed to the bathroom to wash out his mouth and headed carelessly to the front entrance as Gerome told him to. He kept his hands in his pockets and waited silently for Gerome to appear and show him the first job of the day.

              A couple minutes had passed and Gerome was nowhere to be found. For a moment, Kire thought about trying to go off on his own and look for the man but realized that he might be put in more trouble than he needed so he stayed put. More minutes passed on and still no Gerome in sight and by this point, Kire began to wonder if this was even the right place to be waiting but he didn’t want to move and find out. Several of the workers passed by and gave him a few looks, none of which bothered him in any way, as Gerome finally appeared holding his favorite English muffin and jam; it seems that he was off eating a quick breakfast. Kire crossed his arms and tapped his foot with annoyance. Gerome took a bite of his meal and gave a brown paper bag to Kire, inside was a breakfast sandwich and an apple.

              “No worker goes to work with an empty stomach. Eat up when you have the chance, but I’m afraid you must start working immediately.” Gerome said as he took another delicate bite. “You will need to mow the lawn and water the plants in the back.”

              “That doesn’t sound too bad,” Kire said while taking the brown bag. “And what’s stair duty gonna be like?”

              “According to Mr. Nicestone’s notes…” Gerome looked at the paper. “It says you will clean the main stairs using only a small towel or rag. He also said that ‘if he resists his duties, replace rag with a toothbrush.’”

              “Man, what’s up with that guy?”

              “Rest assured that you will not be working under such lousy conditions on my watch. Now then Mr. Rebbel, please follow me so you can begin working.”

              Kire let out a sigh of annoyance but knew there was no way around it. He followed Gerome to the enormous backyard the Nicestones owned and felt his entire body ache. The sun was still not directly above them which lead Kire to believe it was some time before noon; however, it was still hot despite the sun not being overhead. Gerome prompted Kire to a shack that held all the garden needs and tools and showed him the conventional lawn mower as well as the other tools he will need to tend to the garden. The butler handed Kire gardening gloves and showed Kire the basics of how to start the mower, but he was already a step ahead when it came to technology and machines. Nonetheless, he listened to Gerome. Once the explanations were over and Kire was given his orders, he gave a thumbs up to the man in charge and pulled the mower out of the shed and started it up. Before he started to move Gerome gave him a paper explaining what he should do once he is done mowing the grass. Snatching the paper from the man’s hands, Kire scanned the notes and rolled his eyes before shoving it in his pocket.

              Sheesh, after mowing the grass I gotta tend to the flowers too? Talk about a labor heavy day… I guess I should eat my apple while I work.

              Kire dug in the brown bag and pulled the apple out, taking a bite and finally starting his job.

              Within the garden were two workers who eyed Kire suspiciously from afar.

              “Is that him?” One of them spoke.

              “Yeah. He went into Lady Evelyn’s room last night, no doubt. You think he might have done something to her?”

              “He must have! I even heard Evelyn say that something was wrong with her laptop. He did something to her and her laptop for sure.”

              “Hmph, what do you expect from a City Rat? All they do is make life harder for the rest of us. You give them an inch and they take a mile…They’re practically born with crime in their veins. It’s only natural for them.”

              “Hey, why don’t we show him that we don’t tolerate his behavior? If he tells on us, all we need to do is say we saw him in Lady Evelyn’s room last night. Who’s gonna believe his story anyway?”

              “Heh, yeah. Maybe the City Rat will finally learn a lesson about going around Lady Evelyn to please his sick desires.”

              As the day rolled by and the heat got more intense, Kire was just about done with mowing the lawn and all that remained was little. He removed his bandanna and wiped the beads of sweat forming on his forehead and dripping down his face. He knew the day was going to be a hot one, but he merely endured it the best he could. Surprisingly, he did a remarkable job in mowing the lawn while eating his breakfast-on-the-go. His eyes shifted to the gardeners near the flowers he was asked to tend to and got the same looks from before. He wasn’t surprised by the looks at this point and quietly went over to the flowers with a hose, and gently sprayed the plants with cold water, occasionally spraying himself to cool off from the heat. It wasn’t long until the workers from earlier were heard snickering and mumbling under their breath. Paying no attention to them, Kire continued his work until he realized how beautiful the flowers were; they held many shapes and shined in many different colors. The man felt eased and a small weight lift from his shoulders, the looming anxiety he seemingly held. Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain hit him in the back of the head. He saw a small rock roll to the ground and turned around to realize that the two workers threw a rock at him.

              Man, this is how I’m treated even among my peers… Kire thought silently, entering a trance with his mind. I guess it’s what someone like me deserves for defending myself. It’ll only get worse from here. Maybe I should just…

              As Kire struggled with his inner thoughts, another rock was thrown at his head from the same young adults. Growing increasingly agitated, Kire chose to ignore it again while trying to compose his mind again, but when a third rock hit his head, he quickly turned around to face the adults who instantly jumped in surprise. Kire was about to lash out at them but thought about what Gerome or Mr. Nicestone might do to him if they find him yelling at the workers or not doing his job. He gritted his teeth in annoyance and pinched the skin between his eyes. He didn’t move from where he was but waved to them and spoke loud enough to get them to hear him.

              “Hey, think you can quit doing that?” Kire said. “It’s annoying, and it hurts.”

              Both workers looked stunned at the unexpected reaction Kire gave them, but it wasn’t what they were looking for. Kire heard them grumble under their breath and he merely returned to watering the flowers. A couple minutes passed and Kire was about to enter his deep thinking again until he felt a rock hit him in the back, however, the pain was far worse. When he looked down to see the rock they threw, it was a much larger one, about the size of a baseball, completely jagged and had several sharp edges. Before he had time to react, another smaller but similar rock hit the side of his head and left an open scratch wound. At this point, whatever he said to them would only be met with a retort and a rock to the head. As much as Kire held back his anger the fact that the kids continued to mess with him, even harm him, set him over the edge. The bullies finally got the reaction they wanted: Anger.

              “Dude! What the hell is your problem, eh?!” Kire lashed out.

              “You’re nothing but trouble!” One of the workers spoke. “People who try to hurt Lady Evelyn aren’t worth anything!”

              “I didn’t hurt the damn girl!”

              “Oh yeah? Why should we trust you? We saw you snooping in her room last night!” The second worker said while tossing another rock at Kire. “You’re one of the low-class city folk, aren’t you? Those people just care about themselves and are willing to hurt their own kind for a quick buck!”

              “Yeah, all you folk know is how to do crime!”

              “What did you say?!”

              Kire’s anger rose to a spike upon hearing their thoughts of the poor in the city. He was offended at how they assumed and it only fueled his hate for the rich even more. In Kire’s mind, the rich were the ones taking what little the poor owned. Society looks down at the impoverished because of what the higher class says. When it came down to the truth, the higher percentage would mask it and paint their own view of what poverty looks like; the mere thought of the cruel, unfair and injustices these people posed mentally and physically repulsed Kire. His eyes turned to the two workers with his hand tightly gripping the hose from earlier and, from the looks of it, he wasn’t going to sit there letting these two punks throw rocks at him and spit lies at his face. He aimed the hose directly at the adults and began to spray them with cold water. In addition, he started to throw the same rocks they threw right back at them.

              How does it feel, eh? How does it fucking feel? Kire thought to himself while the two bullies struggled to escape the jet of water. Their screams of discomfort slightly amused him. Being at the bottom of society was not a choice we made. We were forced into it! You know nothing!

              Kire remained livid, but the smile on his face showed that he was enjoying the scene a bit too much, perhaps, a bit of sadism slipped out from his actions. Finally, he stopped the torrent of water and watched the two shiver in the cold as they rose to their feet and pointed at Kire, yelling and screaming incoherent things. The man knew he would get in trouble and tried to think up an excuse before he was pummeled to the ground. No matter how hard he thought, his mind would race back to the words of the two oppressors with anger spreading on his face but misery in his heart. It wasn’t long before Gerome came rushing in with the same two hulking guards from this morning. The guards instinctively rushed to Kire with the intent to tackle him to the ground and subdue him. The pain in Kire’s chest would quickly spread across his body as he was forced to the ground with one guard pinning him facedown and the other forcing his arms behind his back. Gerome, on the other hand, appeared by the two shaken adults and examined them to see if they suffered any injuries.

              “Are you two alright? What happened?” Gerome spoke with worry.

              “We’re fine,” One spoke out. “But we saw that man snooping around in Lady Evelyn’s room last night!”

              “Yeah!” The other butted in. “And when we confronted him to ask about what happened, he threatened us! Then, when we said we would tell Mr. Nicestone about this, he started to toss rocks at us and spray us with water!”

              “W-We just wanted to make sure Lady Evelyn was okay… The last thing we want is for something bad to happen to her. He didn’t have to go and attack us…”

              “He will be swiftly taken care of! In the meanwhile, head inside and dry off while I handle what to do with Kire.” Gerome turned to see a struggling Kire who was grunting and screaming under all the weight on top of him.

              “Get off of me! I didn’t do shit!” Kire said in his scuffle. “They started it! They started messing with me! They fucking started it!

              “Why should we believe you?” Spoke a guard, adding pressure to his back.

              “It’s the truth! Why would I attack them for no reason?! Think about it!”

              “That doesn’t explain why you were in Lady Evelyn’s room to begin with when you are strictly prohibited from entering it. You have proven your intentions many times over. Given where you come from, it is natural for you to behave in such a way, sadly.”

              Before Kire would lash out at the man, Gerome casually walked his way over to him and stopped mere inches from his face that Kire was able to see his reflection on his shiny black loafers. For once, Kire felt intimidated by Gerome and his English accent. With a snap of his fingers, Gerome ordered the guards to pull Kire to his feet where he saw the two ingrates pointing and laughing at him. It, no doubt, caused Kire to struggle against the guards to prove his innocence that ended with a stiff elbow to his back, knocking the air out of him. Gerome kept his eyes closed while the guards rough handled Kire to submission. Finally, once Kire was beaten to obedience, Gerome spoke calmly to the man.

              “Kire, why were you in Lady Evelyn’s room?”

              “I didn’t do anything, I swear…” Kire panted from the lack of air in his lungs.
              “What about the two workers? Why did you attack them?”

              “I told you, they started it! They’re lying to you! They just randomly started to attack me!”

              “Why would they tell me otherwise? You were caught spraying them with the hose so who am I supposed to believe in this picture? So far, the story that adds up is theirs.”

              “But I didn’t do anything… I’m telling you the truth, goddamnit.”

              “Kire, I’m afraid you were caught red-handed. It’s your word over theirs. It pains me to have you pummeled, but I cannot sit here and allow you to harm or harass the other workers.” Gerome let out a sigh before writing down something in a notepad he carried. “I’ll have to report this to Mr. Nicestone and see what he wants to happen to you.”

              “Let him go. He’s telling the truth, Gerome!”

              Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned around to see Evelyn glaring directly at them with her arms crossed. She didn’t look happy to see the situation Kire was put in, but the one thing that pained her the most was how hard Kire struggled against all the agony he suffered through.

              “I order you to get off of him!”

              “L-Lady Evelyn, this man was caught red-handed spraying those two—“ The guard stuttered before being interrupted by Evelyn.

              “I told you to get off of him! Can’t you see you’re hurting him?”

              The guard was hesitant at first but quickly obeyed Evelyn and removed himself from Kire. Evelyn rushed to Kire’s side, helped him sit up, and tended to him. He had bruises and a swollen eye, but it was to be expected from the guards. Kire was a little unsettled by Evelyn and her kindness towards him when he was so used to doing things alone. He did not trust her and assumed she was up to no good, so he shoved her away from him, unable to understand her reason to defend him. With his action to Evelyn, he was rewarded with a chokehold that dragged him slightly across the ground. As the guards told Kire not to touch Evelyn; the entire scuffle ended with the Lady pulling the big hairy arm off and away from Kire and scolding both defenders. Kire was catching his breath as he listened in to what was being said.

              “You should be ashamed of yourselves! You have no right to beat him to a pulp the way you did! How dare you beat up someone who’s part of the Nicestone family?!”

              “B-But Lady Evelyn, this man was messing with the two g-garden workers! He s-sprayed them with water from the hose.” One of the guards said nervously.

              “They also said he was in your room last night, spying on you.” Gerome added in.

              “Oh, really now? Bring those two here so we can hear the full story.” Evelyn nodded to the guardians who hastily brought the two workers nearby into question. Both stood before Evelyn only moments after she ordered them to her feet. They were still soaked but when they saw the killer glare Evelyn shot at them, they trembled from her gaze rather than their wet clothes. “Now then, mind explaining what happened?”

              “Y-You see Lady Evelyn… We—erm, we were tending to the bushes and cutting the hedges like we were told to do!” The younger one started.

              “Yeah, next thing we know, he starts saying mean things to us the moment we asked him why he was in your room last night!” The older one added. “Then he attacked us when we said we would tell Mr. Nicestone.”

              “T-That’s when he sprayed us with water!”

              “Is that so? Mind explaining why you were throwing rocks at him first?” Both adults turned pale upon hearing Evelyn’s discovery. “I saw the whole ordeal from the balcony that overlooks the garden. I think you should quit lying and start telling the truth.”

              Everyone’s eyes widen in disbelief as Evelyn continued to chew the two’s argument. She crossed her arms and eyed them carefully as they fidgeted. It was not long until the pressure of all the stares wore down on the workers and they confessed.

              “Alright! W-We started it…” One spoke. “We just didn’t want that guy hurting you!”

              “Yeah! You’re so kind and sweet to people!” The other chimed in. “We didn’t think it would be right for us to stand here and watch you get hurt.”

              “Yeah, when we saw him exit your room we thought he did something to you. We weren’t sure about telling Mr. Nicestone because we didn’t know what exactly happened…”

              “Mr. Nicestone said that the new worker is nothing but trouble and should be kept away from you at all times.”

              “Mhm, he said that he hurt you.”

              “And attempted to rape you.”

              “What? Kire never hurt or raped me.” Evelyn paused before sighing at the possible conclusion. “My father said something like that? Talk about exaggeration… Listen, guys, I’m not getting hurt by anyone, especially Kire. Papa can be a bit overprotective, sometimes too overprotective for my comfort… How about you guys head back inside and dry yourselves off while I handle the situation from here.”

              The two troublemakers promptly nodded and headed back inside the manor with haste. As the scene calmed down, she turned to Gerome and the guards who bowed their heads in shame for what happened. Kire, on the other hand, was dusting himself off and spitting out what looked to be small traces of blood. He wanted to thank Evelyn for helping him, but he could not shake off the pain he was given. No one said anything and half-expected Kire to snap but, surprisingly enough, he remained calm for Evelyn to approach him and examine his wounds. Like a nervous animal, Kire fidgeted away from the girl when she got too close to him.

              “Kire, I am not going to hurt you,” Evelyn said with mourn. “We should take you to see the nurse.”

              “No. Just let me finish the rest of my work and leave me alone.” Kire spat with detest. He did not wait for a remark from Evelyn and began to head towards the mansion. “Hurry up and gimmie the stuff I need to clean the stairs, Gerome.”

              Evelyn frowned at Kire’s hostility but knew it was expected after what the guards and workers did to him. Such abuse on a person would drive them to distrust one another and become more hateful to those who try to get close; the thought of it made Evelyn wonder what torment Kire went through in his life. Taking a deep breath and releasing a sigh, the Lady turned to her guards and shook her head, giving them an intense glare. Both men dropped to one knee and bowed their heads in shame.

              “We are terribly sorry, Lady Evelyn. Our behavior today was one of dishonor and repugnance.”

              “Indeed, this is not how the name of the Nicestones should be used. We have soiled and ravaged the fine name we defend. We understand if you wish to dismiss us from not only your sight but your home and your name.”

              “No,” Evelyn began, speaking softly and a politely. “It’s alright. Really. It’s just that… you shouldn’t treat someone like filth based on assumptions, it’s not right…” She turned to face the direction Kire stormed off to before her eyes lowered to the ground. “You should apologize to him, not me. Don’t you think he’s been through enough already?”

              “I-I’m afraid I don’t understand, Lady Evelyn.”

              “He came from the inner city where the worst of the worst is said to live… Not everyone is as bad as we make them out to be, right?” She turned to face her guards, stopping herself mid-sentence. “Just think about that while you two work up an apology for Kire by the end of the day. Also, if you see those two workers, inform them that I ordered them to apologize to Kire as well. I hope this is a lesson for you to treat others with respect and kindness. You are dismissed.”

              Meanwhile, as Kire was scrubbing the famous marble staircase of the Nicestone main entrance, Mr. Nicestone made his usual rounds around the manor, examining everything with his hawk-like view. All the workers who saw him pass by greeted him with smiles and praise, none of which Kire understood. When the Lord arrived at Kire’s workstation, Gerome bowed his head and began to chatter with Mr. Nicestone, bringing up the situation that happened with Kire and the workers in the garden. Kire could not hear exactly what was being said, but he knew by the cold gaze Mr. Nicestone gave him, trouble was not far behind. He tried to avoid any sort of contact with the man until his booming voice called out to him. All Kire could muster was a sigh of regret as he dragged himself to Mr. Nicestone’s side to hear whatever he needed to say.

              “Gerome told me that you got into a sort of scuffle? What trouble did you cause this time, boy?”
              “I didn’t start anything,” Kire growled. “Ask your daughter, she saw everything.”

              “You dare bring my precious Evelyn into your filthy quarrels?”

              “Can I go back to work now? If I’m just gonna get blamed for something I didn’t do then at least let me finish this stupid chore so I can be alone in my damn room.”

              “I see you are trying to hide your guilt.” Mr. Nicestone scoffed. “Very well, no dinner for you tonight, boy.”

              No protest came from Kire’s end but Gerome’s eyes widen at the sudden declaration Mr. Nicestone said. It was against his nature to speak against his Lord, but he felt that this cruel view on Kire was not justified. He cleared his throat, speaking formally to his Master.

              “Please forgive my insight My Lord, but don’t you think you are being rather harsh? He didn’t cause any trouble to anyone and was provoked by the two other workers. I must advise you to reconsider your—“

              “Forget it, Gerome,” Kire spoke from the top of the staircase while shining the golden rails. “I’m surprised he didn’t flat out kill me for finding out I was in his daughter’s room last night.”

              “Kire!” Gerome gasped at Kire’s slip-up.

              Kire’s eyes widen in terror as he just realized that Gerome never told Mr. Nicestone that he was in Evelyn’s room. Within an instant, his entire body ran cold, paralyzed with fear of what was coming next.

              “What did you say?! You were in my daughter’s room last night?! Evelyn’s room?!” Mr. Nicestone’s voice echoed throughout the entire mansion. Everyone stopped what they were doing.

              “N-No, wait!”

              “I’ll kill you, filthy City Rat..!”

              The next thing Kire saw was blood lusted Nicestone rushing up the stairs with death in his eyes. Everything happened so fast, but it all slowed down for Kire. He saw Gerome yelp at his Lord’s outburst, the nearby house cleaners shriek in terror, water splashing to the floor, and people rushing in to see what was happening. Mr. Nicestone swung a massive arm to Kire, but he managed to swerve out of the way on time and realized the danger he was in. Within that second, time caught up with Kire, and he quickly jumped back from the man and slide down the stairs in hopes of escaping this maniac. As he slid down the railing, he crashed on to Evelyn, both adults hit against each other with a loud thud and dropped to the floor as the room grew silent. All that was felt was the rising anger from Mr. Nicestone.

              Before Kire had time to pull himself to his feet, Mr. Nicestone grabbed his throat and slammed him as hard as he could against the floor. The large man pushed his daughter to safety as he lifted Kire off the floor by his neck and pinned him to the wall with as much force as he could. Kire, unable to breathe, struggled to fight back against the brutal strength this man had against his windpipe, so, instead of fighting back, he tried to pry his neck free from his vicious grip. Once Mr. Nicestone began to beat on Kire’s face and body, the intent was clear. Kire felt the blow to his body and cringed but the moment he was hit on his face, his head slammed back against the wall, and his vision went blurry. His grip on Mr. Nicestone’s wrist got weaker as he didn’t put up much of a struggle anymore. All he felt was pain and hatred.

              Suddenly, he dropped to the floor and freed from the killer grip. He gasped for air, coughing uncontrollably and toppling over in pain, primarily the strain on his side. Gerome quickly rushed to his aide and helped him sit upright by supporting his shoulders. Kire struggled to keep himself upright, but he managed to barely see the scene before him. Evelyn stood in front of him with her arms stretched in a protective stance before her father. He could not make out exactly what she was saying because he was barely hanging on to consciousness, but he felt the safest behind Evelyn.

              “That’s enough Father! Have you lost your mind?!” Evelyn shouted. “What is the matter with you?!”

              “Move aside, Evelyn!” The father commanded. “He was ordered not to go into your room, and he disobeyed me! I will not allow that…contamination to harm you! I won’t let a lowly City Dweller hurt you!”

              “He didn’t hurt me or anyone, he never did! I’m not going to stand here and let you beat him to a pulp, Father!”

              “I said to move Evelyn!”

              “If you want to beat him up then you have to beat me up too!”

              “Move!” Mr. Nicestone’s voice was deep and cold enough to freeze Kire’s blood.


              Evelyn refused to move and only held a determination and a fiery passion on her face. She showed no fear against her father and kept her ground for what felt like hours. Finally, her father backed down and took a step back from the girl, taking deep breaths and regaining his composure. He fixed his suit and hair before eyeing both his daughter and Kire. He felt no remorse for his actions on Kire, but the glare he received from his daughter annoyed him and forced him to leave them alone. The man turned his head from the two and began walking up the stairs to the exit but stopped when he heard his daughter’s voice.

              “Why would you treat someone like this? You said that everyone under your roof was considered family!”

              “People like him don’t deserve a family. He came from a place where the impure thrive, and the rats breed... He’s nothing but a criminal, it's in his blood because all City Rats are born with it. People like him don’t care about anyone, Evelyn…”

              Evelyn’s eyes widen at her father’s statement as she watched him walk off with a cold shoulder. Her attention quickly shifted to Kire as he was slowly moving to his feet with the help of Gerome. When Evelyn tried to go in to help him, Kire shoved her away. The look in his eyes reminded Evelyn of an animal that was cornered: fear and hatred. It was not long until Kire slowly succumbed to the pain and lost consciousness. He fell forward and landed in Evelyn’s protective arms, limp and lifeless; the woman held him close to her chest before placing his arm around her shoulder and staring at Gerome and the others watching her fumble with Kire’s body.

              “Alert the head nurse of this!” Evelyn ordered. “Gerome, please help me carry him to the nursing sector!”

              When Kire finally regained consciousness and opened his eyes, overhead, a light flashed in his face, blinding him for a moment. His cloudy vision finally stabilized and he began to identify all that was blurry. He was in a hospital-like room with medical supplies and nothing but white walls all around him. He sat up on the bed he rested on and realized that his left eye was nearly swollen shut and he was missing his shirt. The bruises on him were starting to show their colors and his right side suffered tremendously from Mr. Nicestone’s onslaught. Every inch he moved felt like a knife was jabbing his right side and forced him to topple slightly in agony. For a moment, he stayed put, examining the room and pondering his situation before attempting to move again, each time being more painful than the last. Finally, he got up and out of bed, clinging his right side firmly, and headed straight to the door.

              People like him don’t deserve a family!

              People like him don’t care about anyone…

              Mr. Nicestone’s words haunted Kire’s thoughts and made him grit his teeth in anger.

              “I’m the one who doesn’t care about anyone..?” Kire mumbled to himself. “You rich bastards are the real heartless ones…”

              As Kire was making his way to the door, it suddenly shot open and rushing inside was Evelyn with the head nurse. The Lady bumped into Kire, sending a wave of discomfort surging throughout his body. The wounded man took several steps back and shut his eyes tightly in the pain as Evelyn gasped at his cringe and suffering. Evelyn gently guided Kire back to the bed and forced him to sit on it as she turned to the nurse and urged her to come closer. As the pain departed from his body, Kire took a gander at Evelyn who was unrolling medical gauze as the nurse handed her a tube of what looked like cream or ointment. He did not want to say a word, fearing that the act of talking would send him into a world of pain again, but he fidgeted away from Evelyn as she approached him with the cream; the look on her face was the complete opposite to Kire’s spite.

              “Don’t touch me,” Kire said with distrust. “I don’t want your help.”

              “It’s going to be okay Kire” Evelyn reassured. “I’m going to get you patched up and—“

              “I said I don’t want your help!” The room instantly grew silent. “Because of you, I’m in this pain! Everyone thinks it’s right to lash at me because I might hurt you, and your father almost fucking killed me just for mentioning your damn name! Don’t you tell me everything is going to be okay!

              Evelyn paused for a moment and her eyes slowly trailed to the floor, the words Kire shot at her felt like stab wounds to her chest. The truth pained her but she still attempted to relax Kire as best she could, mostly so she could patch him up without him squirming; however, she had nothing to say in her defense. She knew Kire was right and she did not understand how she could help.

              “I know my father can be an asshole, but not everyone agrees with him.”

              “She’s right.” The head nurse butted in. “I’ve known Mr. Nicestone for a while and he tends to blow things out of proportions to protect Evelyn. When he claimed that you attempted to ‘rape’ Lady Evelyn, I just knew something was out of place.”

              “Oh yeah? How so?” Kire mocked.

              “For starters, why would he let a supposed rapist stay in his house, especially one that hurt his daughter?” The nurse smiled. “No father—or person—would allow anyone like that to stay in his household.”

              Kire remained silent upon hearing the nurse’s defense. He turned his head to avoid eye contact with either woman but the weight of those words piled upon him. His trust, however, remained crushed thanks to the event earlier. The nurse turned to face Evelyn and made a small frown, disappointed in her futile attempt to help the man. Evelyn lifted her head from the sorrow and puffed her cheeks slightly.

              “Gerome doesn’t hate you, y’know. He tried his best to make things easier for you and didn't tell Papa about you coming in my room. Those guards that are constantly beating you up are simply listening to my dad’s orders.” Her voice softens slightly. “I’ve even disobeyed Father just to make sure you’re okay. I just think you deserve a chance and be treated like a normal person for once.”

              Kire lowered his gaze but refused to acknowledge her words. He was stubborn, but his posture showed that he did take some consideration to her.

              “Look, I know you don’t trust me Kire…” Evelyn said as she placed some ointment on her hand. “I’m not asking for a chance, I want to prove to you that I’m not like my father and neither is everyone else in here. The least I can do to show that is by doing my part to help you now. Please Kire, let me help you… Let me prove to you that you can trust me.”

              There was a long wait before Kire finally turned around to face Evelyn and exposed his bruises to the girl. A genuine smile formed on the Lady’s lips and she proceeded to apply the medicine on Kire’s side, listening exactly how the nurse told her to do so. The way the nurse explained everything to Evelyn felt like a class with Kire as the test subject. As the time went on, the two were careful to numb his pain slightly and made sure to patch him up properly, specifically his eye. The entire ordeal took nearly the rest of the day and ended with Evelyn rubbing a particular minty medicine all over Kire’s side, back and chest while finishing off by wrapping him in bandages. Once Evelyn began to gently pad and wrap his eye for healing, her beauty was off the charts for the man.

              Kire stared idly at her perfect face and was caught hypnotized by her expressive honey eyes. It was until now did he find himself genuinely captivated by her beauty, both physically and mentally—be it, her compassionate side, it made his entire world spin. It was a shame he could only see this through one eye, but the sight of her charm overwhelmed him: Her shiny brunet locks, the rosy blush tinted on her lush cheeks, the strawberry-flavor gloss on her perfect lips, and the voluminous lashes that fluttered every time she blinked. Even her skin glowed with life and grace while the faint smell of her perfume consumed Kire, sending a quiver up and down his spine. Kire tried hard to gaze away but always found himself looking right back at Evelyn; he was powerless.

              “Hey, quit staring at me so much… You’re gonna make me blush.” Evelyn smirked.

              “I can’t help it when you’re right in front of me.” Kire rolled his eyes. He was relieved that his trance with her was broken. “Anyways, are you done?”


              “Where’s that head nurse that was with you?”

              “She left while you were mesmerized with me.” The Lady giggled. “She said that I can handle things just fine. She taught me a lot, so I can manage my own. By the way Kire…” Evelyn finally finished putting the last bandages on Kire before cleaning up the area. “You have one of the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen… They are such a beautiful shade of green.”

              “Uhh, thanks.” Kire cleared his throat before sliding off the bed. “I guess I should head back to my room. Thanks for patching me up, Evelyn.”

              “Hang on Kire.” Evelyn took hold of Kire’s hand and pulled him back. “I want to take you to your room. Papa might be lurking outside, and I’m worried that if he sees you, he might attack you again. At least if I’m by your side, he’ll think twice.”

              Kire was hesitant but nodded in agreement. Once Evelyn finished cleaning up, she walked Kire to his room. Due to his injuries, Kire had to take his time since his side continued to bother him. Once they arrived at his place, Evelyn informed Kire that he would have to stay with those bandages for at least a week. Inside, it was quiet for the duo. Evelyn decided to ask Kire a question to break the ice and throw his mind off the events of today.

              “Hey, Kire… do you have any dreams?”

              “I used to.”

              “Used to?”

              “My dreams were taken from me a long time ago. I rather not talk about the whereabouts of my past. What about you? What are your dreams?”

              “I want to become a doctor or a nurse. I love to help people who are less fortunate than me.”

              “That explains why you came to my rescue… In my case, I wanted to be part of law enforcement. I always thought it was so cool and satisfying to find the bad guy and make him face justice.”

              “Yeah, I totally agree!”

              Minutes turned into hours as the two talked about the wonders and benefits of their dream jobs until there was a knock on Kire’s door. On the other side was Gerome who bowed his head to the couple. He came to inform Evelyn that dinner was ready and that Kire would be having his supper sent to his room, courtesy by Gerome himself. The support he got from Gerome and Evelyn made Kire believe that they genuinely didn’t want to see him suffer but rather make his dire predicament a little easier to cope with. For the first time, a smile formed on his lips and against all the odds, he considered these two his acquaintances because of how they treated him.

              Gerome whisked Evelyn out of the room and reassured that Kire was going to have an excellent meal, despite what Mr. Nicestone said earlier. When the butler left to attend the dinner, the room went into a peaceful state of silence. Kire took his opportunity to write down his thought in the journal while he waited for his food. When an hour past and the food arrived, he ate in peace. His chicken and vegetables tasted better than anything he ever had, even from the expensive restaurants. He wrote as he ate, finished off his significant thoughts, and was thinking about heading to bed until he heard a knock on the door. He assumed it was Evelyn, but when he peered through the small opening he made, he saw the two garden workers and guards from earlier today. Without skipping a beat, he slammed the door shut, apparently still upset about the trouble they gave him.

              “We know you’re angry, but we wish to apologize to you, Sir Kire.” said one of the guards.

              “Y-Yeah…” The first worker spoke up first. “We’re sorry that we got you in trouble. We honestly thought you were gonna hurt Lady Evelyn.”

              “It wasn’t right for us to attack you the way we did… we’re really sorry.” The second worker added. “And… we understand if you don’t forgive us.”

              “Us as well,” The guards said in unison. “The way we handled you is unacceptable and immoral. We sincerely apologize for all the physical pain we caused you this past couple of days…”

              There was a long pause before Kire opened the door entirely to gaze at the group of people before him. He narrowed his eye and crossed his arms, almost as if trying to see if they really meant what they preached. He looks of distress on their faces was enough proof for Kire to believe them. They continued to babble apologetic words to Kire before he rose a hand to hush them.

              “It’s fine. Don’t make a habit out of it.” Kire began, but his gaze went from light-hearted to serious. “However, don’t think I completely forgive you. I don’t trust anyone in this house, especially the workers… I’ll spare you the events of today, however.”

              Kire slammed the door in their faces before any of them had time to say anything. The group felt odd but assumed that Kire had forgiven them for the most part. They all stared at each other before walking off to their rooms. Kire took in a deep breath and smiled, he knew Evelyn was behind all this and went back to his desk o write down one final statement in his journal.

              Day 3,

              Today was a day full of mayhem. Mr. Nicestone wanted my head on a platter, and I know he isn’t happy knowing I went into Evelyn’s room. I knew that man tried to kill me, I saw it in his eyes, a gaze I’m all too familiar with. I should keep a lookout for him. Gerome is a lot nicer than I initially thought, but why would he help someone like me? Perhaps, he was influenced by Evelyn and her way of thinking. That girl has a knack for bringing the good out of people. However, I wonder… does she know the reality of a world that is continuously hidden from her? She may be nice, but the world will not always bend the way she sees it. And yet, she managed to change me… I saw the truth in her eyes, an enigma I cannot understand or even comprehend. When Evelyn saved me today, she looked like an angel that graced me with mercy. For the first time… I felt safe, utterly inviolable.

              Aside from her act, I found myself captivated by her beauty once again… I know I do not love this girl, but I will not disagree with announcing her majestic features. It annoys me that I cannot gaze away, but something about her completely captivates me. If it is not her face then what am I attached to? An intriguing mystery I cannot seem to elucidate. As I said before, I do not love this girl…but perhaps I am hiding behind a wall that even I cannot see through.

              The slaves of the home apologized to me, no doubt Evelyn’s doing. Why is she doing so much for me, a mere vassal to the experimentations of society? I am overthinking this. However, my feelings for Evelyn have only strengthened as of today. I doubt it’s anything serious, but I will update as much as I need to, my thoughts are still disorganized…

              As Kire finished writing down his final thoughts for the day, he drifted off to bed. He never felt a wave of comfort as he did that night. It overtook him and pulled him into a deep sleep.
Kire has recovered after the event with Mr. Nicestone and has been getting closer with Evelyn ever since. He talks briefly about his past and begins to learn about Evelyn's after a day of bonding. He learns that Evelyn's mother was a big factor in Evelyn's life and molded her to who she is today. Who is Evelyn's mother and what impact does she have over the family, Kire, and the people around her?


              Two weeks have passed since Mr. Nicestone’s attack on Kire, and every day since then, Evelyn was making sure he was well taken care of. Thanks to Evelyn, his wounds healed much faster than anticipated. During those two long weeks, Kire was spending much of his time with Evelyn and Gerome, bonding closer with them and learning their likes and dislikes. He grew to accept and understand them better than what he initially thought, but he remained careful not to speak about his past actions. With each passing day he got to know Gerome and Evelyn, the less he would feel the stress of the chores he is forced to do. The people in the manor would begin to respect Kire little by little until all the ‘distrust’ they had disappeared. There was no doubt that Kire was slowly starting to be accepted by the people he works around.

              Today, Kire had to tend to lawn again, specifically the grass and bushes. The day was sweltering, and there were little clouds to help provide any shade from the blazing sun. Regardless, Kire still had to work his hardest to give the best performance in his efforts. When it came time to trim the bushes, Kire sighed at the sheer amount of shrubs that needed his attention, knowing it would take most of his time to finish. He groaned in annoyance before heading to the garden shed and picking out the hedge trimmers he needed for the tedious work he was about to embark on. Without wasting time, Kire began to clip and trim the hedges to Mr. Nicestone’s liking, or so he assumed. As he worked, the familiar head butler strolled by to check up on Kire and his progress, with him, a bottle of water in each hand.

              “What terrible heat we’re experiencing this afternoon.” Gerome pressed a cold bottle to his forehead. “I brought you some water to help cool you down in this weather.”

              “Thanks,” Kire took the bottle and snapped the cap off, taking a few sips. “I needed this.”

              “Lady Evelyn recommended it. She said that your red hair would burst into flames if no one came to cool you off.”

              “Very funny,” Kire said sarcastically as he removed his plain tank top and bandanna to pour the icy liquid over his slightly chiseled body. He quivered slightly, but it cooled him down. “Hedges are almost done. After this I gotta plant some new flowers, right? Sheesh, I feel like a pansy doing this garden work. Heh, kinda reminds me of home with my old man.”

              “Old man? You mean your father?”

              “Yeah. Pops taught me a few things about tending to the fields.” Kire said while he carefully trimmed the remaining bushes.

              “Tending fields? Kire, I believe a garden is far different from a field.” Gerome chuckled.

              “I was born to the country-side, so it’s all the same to me. Ma’ took care of me most of the time while my ol’ man worked on the fields. We sold our crops and ate the leftovers.” Kire smiled to himself as he finished off the last bush.
              “I see! A hard worker from a young age,” Gerome added as he guided Kire to the small bed of soil that will be used to plant flowers. “That would explain your character.”

              “My character?”

              “I’ve noticed that you tend to work your hardest for whatever chore you are given. You seem not to give up when given a challenge.”

              “Well, I believe hard work pays off eventually. Kinda ironic coming from me since I conned Mr. Nicestone and Evelyn for a free meal.” Kire snickered. “I kinda had it coming. Man, if I had a ton of money like Mr. Nicestone, I’ll be able to buy a fancy sports car.”

              As the day passed on, Gerome and Kire continued to talk about their younger years until Evelyn appeared before the duo. She smiled brightly at the two before turning her attention to Kire and handing him a towel to clean his sweat. The day got much brighter to Kire when he gazed upon Evelyn’s cheerful face, all the pain in his body instantly fading away. The girl looked at the beautiful bed of flowers planted by Kire and stood by his side, watching him work.

              “Looks like you’re almost done here. Once you finish planting these flowers, you should be able to have the rest of the day off.” Evelyn smiled slyly. “You seem to be working faster than before. Any reason why?”

              “Looks like I got used to it,” Kire replied with a shrug. “I was talking to Gerome about my younger days. Told him how my Pops worked on the fields and taught me a bit about working in the dirt. I guess that might have helped me today.”

              “Heh, that so? Maybe we’re going too easy on you.” Evelyn chuckled. “I’m just kidding. Hey, why don’t you take a break for now? I’m sure the other workers will tend to the flower bed to finish up your work.”

              “You sure? I don’t want your dad to knock me out for skipping my duties…”

              “Don’t worry about him. He hasn’t spoken about you ever since I had a serious talk with him. As long as you’re around me—‘supervised’ by Gerome, that is—Daddy can’t touch you. Those were the rules we agreed on.”

              “Well…” Kire stared at Gerome who nodded at him. “Alright… I guess a break won’t hurt.”

              Evelyn whispered something to Gerome who chuckled before nodding her off as she took Kire by the arm into the manor.

              Every day, when Kire was forced to explore the manor, it always seemed to get bigger as he discovered a new room every time. He told Evelyn he wanted to go to the ‘workbench room’ and try to finish the piece he started. Evelyn showed him the way and tagged along, curious to see if she can know more about him. She seemed more interested in talking to him rather than his gizmos. Kire was again at peace when he entered the room he loved so much. Luckily the laptop parts he worked on were untouched and intact. Evelyn sat down on a chair nearby, watching Kire continue working on his toy.

              “So what was it like growing on a farm?” Evelyn said shyly. “Any good memories?”

              “I don’t remember much other than work and school. I was a bit distant with my parents since I got in trouble a lot.” Kire said without taking his eyes off of his work in progress. “Ma’ said I always wanted to do my own thing and be my own person. Y’know, be more independent or something like that.”

              “Why’s that?” Evelyn asked, pausing slightly when she noticed the frown on Kire’s face.

              Kire remained silent for several minutes, messing and playing around with his laptop pieces. The silence around the two grew to uncomfortable levels, and Kire can feel the irritation that came with it. He thought long and hard, careful for the correct answer to a question he asked himself almost every day. Whether he knew the answer or not, he spoke, breaking the awkward silence between them.

              “I guess I just wanted to see what was out there. I thought I could be fine all by myself and not worry about all the bad things in this world. To not worry about the bad people that hurt others, and even if they bothered me, I thought I would be capable and strong enough to stop them. I thought I could be something―someone―important.” Kire took a deep breath and leaned closer to his gizmo. “Guess I thought too highly of myself. Look at me now; I amounted to nothing so far.”

              Evelyn frowned at Kire’s reply and let her gaze drop to the floor. She didn’t know what to say without making it seemed forced. Her mind raced for an answer, but nothing came out. She understood one thing: Kire is tormented about something and wanted to help him somehow. There was a long streak of muteness between the two, Kire’s response being hard for Evelyn to swallow, as she watched Kire tinker with his invention. She didn’t say anything, watching him build and take it apart for fun, learning small bits of how specific tools work.

              Why is he so vain? Evelyn thought to herself. He’s great with computers, and he’s brilliant, despite being a con artist. What made him turn so cold and give up on his abilities? Something awful must have happened to him that he refuses to come out of his shell…

              Evelyn’s thoughts were interrupted by Kire tossing the nearly finished laptop to the floor followed by a stretch and a yawn. The computer shattered into pieces, no doubt irreparable at this point. Evelyn’s brown eyes shifted to Kire who scratched the back of his head with little care of what happened to his creative work. 

              “Hey, you were almost done! Why did you bust it up?”

              “Eh, I got bored of it and decided it wouldn’t be needed anyway. No point in finishing something that will have no use after it is created.” Kire said with little care. However, the words seem to hurt Evelyn.

              “Well, that’s not true… You don’t know if you’ll need it for something later on.”

              “Well, I couldn’t think of a use for it now, so it has no use for me at all. I’ll replace it with something more effective next time.” Kire shifted from his spot and began to walk to the door, not even turning back to see if Evelyn followed him.

               The female was quick to be by his side, looking back one last time to the destroyed laptop on the ground. A lonely sigh escaped Evelyn’s lips, and she thought about leaving Kire’s personal life alone for the time being until they got closer, if that ever happened. Still, she thought what happened to him to make him so bitter, but more importantly, she wondered what she could do to help him. She turned the light off and gently closed the door behind her, her frown disappearing as she caught up to Kire who was walking down the hall. She decided to follow where he walked and changed the topic about his past. It wasn’t long for Kire to get his spirits back up.

              As the two talked about a different topic, they started to laugh and giggle at the jokes each of them said. They roamed around the house, not paying attention to half the stuff going on around them. Most of the workers seem to ignore Kire hanging out with Evelyn and even smile at how Evelyn was having fun with him. They talked about the shows they liked and disliked, political agendas, and the city they lived in. They talked about what and how they would change the place, making it easier for people to live in. Nearly the whole day went by with the two of them talking mostly about nonsense and the jokes that came with it. By the time both of them were out of ideas to talk about, they decided to go to the immensely vast living/family room and sit down on one of the large sofas. Kire placed his feet on top of a nearby table, crossing one over the other, and lean back against the super comfortable sofa. Evelyn sat next to him, copying him exactly and mockingly as a joke. Both of them laughed louder and louder as they tried to out mock each other and exaggerate themselves.

             Their giggles would eventually catch the attention of Gerome who happen to be working nearby. He poked his head into the room, watching silently the two from behind as they continued to get close and bond. Gerome smiled, this being the first time in a while he saw Evelyn as happy as she was now. He noticed that Kire was more gentle than he made himself out to be, especially around Evelyn, which made him believe he shared more than just a bond with her. Just as the two were finishing their act, he saw Evelyn turn on the T.V and begin to bicker with Kire about what they wanted to watch. One argued that they should watch cartoons while the other wanted to see Sci-Fi.

             They act just like two little kids… Gerome chuckled. Still, they seem to really enjoy each other’s company, almost as if it’s a balance between them. Things might actually start getting interesting around here soon.

              The head butler decided to make his move and approach the two as they were fumbling over the remote and squabbling over what channel to watch. Gerome cleared his throat which caught their attention, making both of them release the remote. Both young adults felt a slight blush form on their cheeks, knowing that Gerome must have been watching some of their fumbles.

              “I see you two are doing okay,” Gerome said calmly. “Dinner is ready, Lady Evelyn. Would you like me to serve you and Kire? Tonight we are serving a panko crusted chicken breast stuffed with fresh spinach and asparagus, gluten-free cheese, and thin strips of naturally raised ham, served with a side of wild rice and scalloped potatoes as well as your choice of drink.”

               “Sure, bring us two plates each, we’re starving! Think you can bring me an entire liter of Cola, I’m craving it right now.” Evelyn took the remote and ran through all the channels.

               “Most certainly, my Lady. What about you Kire? What would you like to drink?”

               “Bring me a liter of Cola too. I haven’t drunk soda in a while. Also, bring me three plates.”

               “As you wish.” Gerome chuckled. “Dinner will arrive soon.”

                As the butler bowed his head and left the room, Evelyn stopped on a channel that happens to be a crazy game show with people doing extreme feats to reach the goal. The duo laughed at the slips and falls and horrible dubbing until Gerome returned with their plates of food. It was much more than Kire thought, but his stomach did not complain. The two of them watched this marathon of silly overseas game shows and cracked jokes whenever possible, eating their meal and occasionally talk about how they can quickly complete the wacky trials.

               Kire stuffed himself with the mountains of food and stared at Evelyn as she giggled throughout the entire ordeal of the show. He found himself staring at her again, smiling at how much fun she was having with him. The way she acted around him continued to bewilder him. To him, rich people were supposed to be selfish, greedy, and uncaring, yet, Evelyn defies all odds. Even the people around her, Gerome, the servants, they all break Kire’s belief and view of how the upper-class people should be seen. A wave of relief consumed his body, and every day he spent with Evelyn was a day a terrible weight lifted off his chest. For the weeks he had been in the manor, he felt a strong connection towards Evelyn and her gentle ways. The compassion made him crave for more.

               As the day went on they finished their meals, and the night grew closer upon them, most of the outrageous shows they were watching were coming to an end. The pair stood up and stretched their full stomachs, Kire letting out a loud belch that was followed by Evelyn’s smaller one, the former laughing at the attempt. The house was getting dark, and most of the workers were already heading to their rooms to prepare for bed. Evelyn decided it was time to wrap things up and head to bed before her father caught her hanging out with Kire so late. As Evelyn turned off the T.V, the house instantly grew silent, and the two felt the darkness of the night creep in. Kire took hold of the dirty dishes from the feast they had and beckoned Evelyn to follow him to the kitchen. After a quick washing of the dishes, Kire let out a sleepy yawn and decided to walk Evelyn to her room, as usual.

               The duo walked silently in the dark, carefully going up the main staircase. The huge framed portrait of the Nicestone family caught Kire’s attention, even in the dark. He stopped at the platform to stare at the family and their elegance. Mr. Nicestone was sitting down on a chair that looked more like a throne, with a very classic suit and a pipe in one hand. A teenaged Evelyn stood proudly and beautifully beside her father, baring a gorgeous lilac dress and her precious pearl necklace. However, next to her was a mysterious woman with a dress so dignified and grand that it captivated the viewer, stunning them in its grace. The woman had a very close resemblance with Evelyn, having the same hair and even a similar face, yet, she appeared much calmer and more refined, even gentle. Kire always passes by this portrait, but he never took time to acknowledge it as he did now and wondered who that mysterious woman was.

               “Hey Evelyn,” Kire pointed at the woman in question. “I’ve never seen her around here. Who is that?"

                Evelyn turned to where Kire pointed, and her gaze immediately fell to the floor, along with her smile. 

               “That’s my mother,” Evelyn said with a low voice.

               “Really? I’ve never seen her in all my time here.”

“Well, she’s no longer here with us.” The Lady sighed before turning to face the family picture. “She passed away a couple of years ago…”

Kire was taken back at the answer he got and instantly felt an awkward and uneasy jitter in his gut. He had no clue her mother died, and he felt terrible for bringing up any bad memories to Evelyn, especially after the good time they had.

“Uhhh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up rough times for you…” Kire scratched the back of his neck, fidgeting slightly by how uncomfortable this was for him. “I’m sorry―”

“No, no, it’s okay, you didn’t know.” Evelyn took a deep breath before moving up the stairs. “It’s been a while since I talked about her, so I kinda welcome it…”

Kire remained silent, following Evelyn by the stairs and slowly walking by her side. He can tell Evelyn wanted to spend as much time as she could with him before having to go to bed. He kept his hands in his pockets, listening to Evelyn talk about her mother.

“Mom was such a kind person. She told me that we always gotta see the good in people. She was the one who managed to convince my dad to make that vaccine company!”

“Vaccine company?”

“Yeah, it’s a company that gives anyone free vaccines to help prevent the spread of diseases and helps cure and strengthen the body. Mom wanted everyone to have a healthy life, her ultimate goal being to help as many people as possible.”

“She sounds like a great person.” Kire smiled at the thought of someone as kind as Evelyn’s mother.

“Heh, I remember that she used to tell me tons of stories of her travels and adventures. She went all around the world to help people less fortunate than her by giving them proper care.” Evelyn giggled to herself. “She said that’s how she met dad.”

“Huh? I thought your dad was the rich one.”

“No way! Dad was as poor as dirt when he met mom.” Evelyn whispered, fearing someone would hear her. “Mom said she saw the situation my dad was living in and felt so sad at how bitter my dad was at life. So she took him in.”

“Really?” Kire perked his eyebrow in interest. “This is getting good.”

“You can’t tell anyone, Kire!” Evelyn said, hissing.

“I won’t.”

The duo walked side by side down the long and dim hallways that circled the second floor. Evelyn made sure to keep her voice down to not wake anyone up or have anyone catch her saying the stories of her mother and father. She remained close to Kire as she told her mother’s stories, her eminent fear of a random jumpscare still being the reason she has Kire walk her to her room.

“Mom used to tell me that Dad was very mad at the world and hated everyone around him. He was mean and very selfish. All she told me was that dad had a rough time growing up and nasty people made his life worse. …It’s almost like he gave up on everything. When he met mom, all he did was say how he hated people like her.” Evelyn paused for a moment to check behind her, in case anyone was following them. “I have no idea how Mom managed to change Father so drastically, but hey, if she can change people as stubborn as my dad, why can’t I? She’s helped so many people around the world and continues to this day with her vaccines. There are still so many people out there that need a second chance, and I’m sure my mom would have wanted me to continue in her footsteps, or, at least, help those in need.”

“I’m sure your mom would’ve been proud with whatever you did,” Kire said confidently. “If she were still around today, she would see a proud and confident girl, one who can kick ass and patch up her own wounds.”

“Yeah… I really wish she was here to see me now.”

“Hey Evelyn, I hope you don’t mind me asking such a personal question, but how did your mother pass away?”

“She was murdered…”

Kire stopped in his tracks as soon as he heard the cause of death. He felt disgusted and even hurt at this reveal. He didn’t know why, but he was boiling mad―furious, about this insignificant thing that had nothing to do with him. His arms shook with fury at the mere thought of such a wonderful person, a compassionate human being, like Evelyn’s mother, murdered by the likes of filth. In his mind, such a person deserves no second chance. All he could think of was hate, but he couldn’t understand why he felt so strongly for a person he had never met before. He shot his head up as soon as he felt Evelyn’s gentle touch on his arm. The way he trembled with outrage no doubt concerned her.

“What’s wrong, Kire?”

“I’m just… mad.” Kire said, taking in a deep breath of air, trying to calm himself down.

“Mad about what?”

“Why would anyone murder a person as kindhearted as your mother? All she wanted to do was to help this sick world…”

“I didn’t know you felt so strongly for my mother’s beliefs...”

“Well, in a world like this, we need more people who think like your mom.” Kire let out a long sigh before finally composing himself before the Lady. “Sorry about that, I didn’t mean to get so mad. Anyways, we should be close to your room. C’mon, it’s getting late, and I don’t want you to get in trouble with your dad.”

“Yeah, we should hurry.”

The two walked past the corner and headed down the last hallway leading to Evelyn’s room. They walked more slowly, each wanting to spend more time with one another, but once they reached the crafted rococo door, it was time to part ways. Kire opened her door and flicked on the light switch near the edge of the wall, illuminating part of the dim hallway. Evelyn slipped inside her room and leaned against the wall, closing the door slightly behind her, so the light from her room doesn’t alert her father. She gazed back at Kire who was entirely engulfed by the darkness of the hallway, his eyes being the only things she can see from the man, almost like two emeralds shimmering in the light. She noticed Kire shuffle slightly in the dark, ready to take his leave. Her hand shot out, gripping his arm and pulling him back into the light. When Kire stared back at the girl, she seemed lost or troubled. Something was weighing heavy on her mind, and he couldn’t stand to see her like that.

“What is it, Evelyn?” Kire whispered. “You look like something is bugging you.”

There was a long pause before Evelyn spoke in her whispered voice.

 “…Do you really think the world would be a better place if we just gave people a chance to change themselves..?”

“Uhh, you kinda put me on the spot there, Evelyn… It’s getting late and you know I can’t be seen hanging around with you at this hour. We can continue this tomorrow.”

As Kire attempted to walk away, the grip Evelyn has on his arm only got tighter, and she refused to let him go until he answered her question. He tried to wiggle her hand away, but the girl refused to budge. He let out a sigh of defeat since he realized the only way she would let him go is if he gave her some answer. The man rubbed the back of his neck and gazed back directly to Evelyn.

“Listen, I believe your mom was a great person, and her heart was definitely in the right place,” Kire’s voice began to sound more sinister. “but I believe that some people don’t deserve a second chance.”

“What do you mean?”

“People who do atrocious crimes, regardless of the reason, should never be forgiven… Those are the ones who never change.” Kire pulled his arm away from Evelyn’s grip, taking a step back from her door. “That’s my two sense of the matter, however. Look, it’s getting really late, you need to head to bed―”

“Why are you so cold..?” Evelyn’s voice trembled slightly.

Kire growled under his breath, annoyed with the questions Evelyn continued to harass him with. His voice grew agitated, and he balled his hands into fists. He found himself lashing out at Evelyn.

“Listen, Evelyn; this isn't like those cartoons you watch where hugs and kisses fix everything! Out there, your actions mean nothing! There are no such things as heroes, Evelyn, so open your eyes and grow up.”

The hallway felt as if it was stuck in time, frozen. The silence consumed the two and Kire lowered his defensive stance. His voice relaxed, and he slowly looked back at Evelyn. Her head faced the floor and tears streamed down her cheeks. Her sniffles were all that was needed to make Kire change his tone instantly. Not only did he feel sorry for making her cry, but he didn’t want Mr. Nicestone to see his daughter like this. Kire didn’t know what to do so he panicked slightly.

“Hey, hey! Don’t cry! Hey, look, I was just being an asshole, okay? I don’t wanna get caught by your dad and get in more trouble―”

Kire felt Evelyn wrap her arms around his waist and hide her face on his chest. He hesitated about touching her, so he kept his hands to his side. His heart pounded, fearing that someone might catch them. Evelyn didn’t care if someone did, holding Kire tighter. The girl stayed put for a few minutes, silently crying about something Kire didn’t know about until she pulled herself away from him, cleaning off a few of her tears. Her lower lip trembled as she gently lifted her hand to run a finger over the scar on the corner of his mouth. Kire remained perfectly still, shocked actually, that Evelyn touched his face. He felt his body relax at her tender touch, all the pain he usually associates with his scar disappeared for the first time. His eyes widen, but before he can utter a word, Evelyn began to mutter to him.

“Kire…” Evelyn said softly. “You’ve been through so much… I… I’m sorry.”

Kire frowned, feeling that Evelyn shouldn’t have to apologize for anything. He felt responsible, yet, Evelyn was taking the blame for this. It confused him. For the first time, someone cried over his problems, and it made Kire feel noticed for once.

“Hey… uhh, it’s okay.” Kire wiped away the tears from Evelyn’s cheeks. “It’s not your fault, so don’t treat it as if it was. Instead of worrying about what happened to me, you should focus more on helping other people who are going through the same thing I did.”

“But what if I can’t do it..? What if I just don’t have the same gift my mother had?”

“I don’t think it’s about the―” Kire cut his words short, hearing footsteps coming towards their direction. “Someone’s coming! I have to go, let’s talk about this never!”

Kire ran down the hall without warning but quickly returned to take Evelyn’s hand and place a kiss on the top of it. His voice sounded annoyed, but Evelyn knew he was just eager to get out of there.

“And quit your damn crying, you’re gonna get me in trouble!”

And for a second time, Kire darted off into the darkness, disappearing for the night. Evelyn made a half smile at his silly attempt to lift her spirits, which worked. The Lady closed the door in front of her and cleaned off the remainder of her tears. Her eyes were still watery and her cheeks still puffy from her crying. The memories of her mother would only make things worse, giving her more reason to cry. She moved to her bed and sat down, burying her face in her hands as the thoughts of her mother, Kire, and his pain flooded her with emotion. She cried silently, in hopes that whoever was passing by would not hear her. The footsteps they both heard seemed to pass by and ignore the light coming from her room. The noise of heels clicking drifted past her room, and off into the hall, muted out by the silence that consumed the manor. The room was quiet, seconds felt like hours to the Lady, and with each passing second, her heart continued to ache.

Suddenly, there was a knock on her door, and her head promptly shot up as she struggled to compose herself, ridding herself of her tears but not her puffed up face. She tried to think up an excuse for whoever walked in and saw her like this, but nothing came up. When the door finally opened, it was her father who stepped forward, and, in a way, Evelyn felt relieved. Mr. Nicestone, looking less threatening than usual, noticed his daughter in distress. He saw the tears streaming down her cheeks, and his face immediately sadden. Her soft muffled cries made him close the door to her room so that both of them could talk about the situation in private. Like any worried parent, his voice was soft and full of compassion as he tried to soothe the problems of his daughter.

“Evelyn, dear, why are you crying?” Mr. Nicestone said as he took his daughter’s face in his large hand, cleaning off her tears.

“I… I was just thinking about mom again.” She hiccuped.

“Ah, Serah…” The father’s face saddened at the thought of his wife. “What were you thinking about?”

“Well, I was thinking about all the amazing things she did for hundreds of people. I wanna do the same thing and help as many people as I can too! But…” Evelyn twiddled her thumbs anxiously. “I don’t think I’m capable enough…”

“Why do you think that?”

“Mom had a gift, or some talent, for helping people. Everywhere she went, she changed lives. I…I don’t think I have that gift, dad. I can never help people like mom did or be as good at it like she was…”

“Evelyn…” Mr. Nicestone cleaned up the last of his daughter’s tears and caressed her cheek, placing her hair behind her ear so he can get a better view of his girl. He sat down on the bed with his daughter and placed his big hairy arm around her shoulder. “Your mother helped people not because she had a talent for it. She did it because it was the right thing to do.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your mother didn’t worry about whether or not she was capable of helping one person of a thousand people. You see Evelyn, it didn’t matter if she had a gift or not, what made her so special was that she never gave up in what she believed in. She believed that everyone deserves a chance to change themselves. However, she knew that not everyone would change for the best.”

“You changed, didn’t you?”

“Yes, but I did give your mother a hard time…” Mr. Nicestone sighed. “I said many things I regret, but all Serah wanted for me was a better life. There were times where she almost gave up on me, but I desperately wanted to change my life, make myself a better person, and that’s why she stayed and refused to give up on me.”

“Then I came in the picture a few years later on?”

“Ohoho! Well, I was quite a charmer in my younger days! Your mother couldn’t look away!” Mr. Nicestone chuckled before clearing his throat. “Point is, your mother helped the people who wanted to change themselves. Some people don’t want to change, and that’s what makes this world so hurtful to everyone else. They believe that hurting others is okay…”

“So what do we do about those types of people, Papa?” Evelyn frowned. “If they keep hurting people then nothing would change…”

“Well, frankly, I don’t know Evelyn.” The man turned his gaze to the ceiling. “All I know is that your mother said something about ‘taking away the fear they own,’ but I have no idea what she meant by that…”

Mr. Nicestone rose from the bed and let out a loud, hearty yawn before turning to face Evelyn, who was still struggling with her emotions. He placed a hand atop her head and stroked her hair, giving her some assurance. He knew it was hard for Evelyn to speak about her mother, but the few times she did made her grow. He glanced at the time and realized it was getting very late.

“Alright Evelyn, did you get everything off your chest? It’s time for you to head to bed, young lady.” Mr. Nicestone said as he kissed the top of her forehead. “You can tell me everything in the morning, alright darling?”

“Alright… Hey dad, can I ask one more question?” Evelyn did not wait for a reply. “Do you think I can be like mom one day?”

Mr. Nicestone stood by the door, finger ready to flick the lights off. He laughed to himself before turning to face his daughter. “If anyone can be like Serah, it’s you, Evelyn. However, I think you will be even greater than your mother. The passion you have when it comes to helping people rivals that of your mom. I see it every day in your eyes.”

Evelyn let out a small giggle before showing off her bright smile. With her spirits lifted, she no longer felt a heavy burden on her shoulders, and she knew who she had to help first. She ran over to her father and gave him a sweet kiss on his cheek and hugged him tightly. Mr. Nicestone returned the hug to his daughter, and they both said their farewells, the father reminding Evelyn not to go to bed too late. When the door closed and Evelyn returned to the tranquility of her room, she thought tirelessly of Kire’s words and wondered what he meant by them. The image of him kissing her hand caused her cheeks to flush red, and she rolled her eyes.

He’s not such a mean guy after all… Evelyn caressed her hand lovingly.

The Lady changed to her nightgown and turned off the lights to her room, only leaving the night lamp on so she can find her way to bed. She huddled under the covers of her luxurious bed and laid her head down on her fluffy pillow, instantly feeling the waves of sleep overwhelm her. Even she didn’t know she was this exhausted after spending the whole day with Kire, but the girl wasn’t going to fight the urge to go to sleep. She reached out and turned off her night lamp, her room finally engulfed by the darkness.

He just…has a weird way of showing…he cares… Isn’t that…right…Kire..?

Evelyn’s thoughts came to a stop as she slowly succumbed to the night and drifted into a deep slumber.
The day is starting off normal until Kire catches wind that Edwin is coming over to pick up Evelyn. He isn't happy but decides to do his chores early so he can spend as much time he can with his favorite girl. With friends and foes coming into Kire's life, he now has to decide who he can trust and who he can use for his own benefits.


Kire woke up early this morning so he could get his chores done sooner in hopes he could hang out with Evelyn again. Gerome, as usual, was the first one up preparing for the day ahead. Groggy and slow from waking up, Kire presented himself to Gerome in just his boxer shorts. He yawned loudly, scratching his back then his privates for extra measure. He ignored the butler’s remarks about being proper and looked to the side during his little lecture. 

              “So, why are you up so early, Gerome? Ain’t you tired or somethin’?”

              “I have gotten used to it. I should be asking you the same question.”

              “I just thought I finish my chores early today, y’know, to keep my face safe from the Big Boss.” Kire rubbed his eye. “Anyways, I might as well start now.”

              “Oh, is that your reason?” Gerome chuckled, handing Kire the list of chores he needed to do. “I expected you to hang out with Lady Evelyn.”

              “Yeah, well, she comes to me, so don’t get the wrong idea.”

              “I see, well, I suppose it wouldn’t matter to you that Sir Edwin is going to stop by and pick up Lady Evelyn for a romantic night out. He should be arriving by 6 pm.”

              “Edwin? That pompous asshole?” Kire shot a glare towards Gerome. “Hmph, I don’t know why Evelyn puts up with him. I bet I can impress Evelyn better than he can.”

              “Is that envy I sense in your voice, Kire?”

              “No way! I just don’t like the guy. He’s so full of himself and a huge jerk. He got me in trouble that one day, so it’s personal for me. I could care less about Evelyn’s relationship with him, that’s her problem, not mine.”

              Before Gerome could annoy him even more, Kire rolled his eyes and walked away. He disappeared into the kitchen where he was ordered to wash and shine all the dishes. The redhead groaned in annoyance since he would have to work earlier than he's used to. At least he had the comfort to work in his boxer shorts.

              Kire made sure to read the note Gerome gave him carefully before starting his task. The sheer amount of dishes he had to wash and shine would take him a few hours, at best. Kire sighed but knew there was no avoiding it. His eyes scanned around the kitchen area, and he spotted a portable radio. Without skipping a beat, he went over to it, plugged it to a nearby socket, and began to search for a station he liked. He stuck to the rock station and began to dance to the tunes as he washed the dishes. He would occasionally switch to the rap station and alter his preferences. He took a glance at the note Gerome gave him and realized that he would have to sweep the entire west wing of the house. It didn’t bother him as much, so he hurried with the dishes before most of the workers woke up.

              When he finished with the hundreds of dishes, Kire made sure to place the radio back where he found it and dry off the remaining wet wine glasses. As the redhead cleaned his workspace, he stretched his body as much as he could, cracking and popping his joints to relieve himself of the work. He walked out of the kitchen and headed to the west wing of the manor. At this point, Kire started to regret waking up so early because he felt the sleep creep up on him. He wobbled to the cleaning closet where he took out a vacuum cleaner. He wasn’t allowed to go inside any of the rooms, so he began to vacuum the hallways and any open space he can see. Kire made no effort to reduce the noise he was making because he assumed that no one was sleeping in the west wing. When the man walked by Evelyn’s room, the door slowly opened, showing the Lady of the house in an elegant blouse and shorts. She didn’t seem excited about being awake either, mimicking Kire’s tired look. Her hair was still messy, and she looked like she wasn’t awake for long.

              “Mornin’ Evelyn,” Kire said politely. “Sorry if I woke ya’ up, don’t know how to make the vacuum less noisy.”

              “Oh, it’s quite alright,” Evelyn yawned, rubbing her eye. “I was up for a short while anyway. Also, why are you in just your boxer shorts?”

              There was a small pause between the two and Kire slowly looked down to remember that he didn’t bother to put any pants on. He was flustered at first, but then shrugged at Evelyn.

              “Why not? They’re comfy. Besides, I thought I would finish my chores before anyone woke up to see me. I’m almost done with this wing, so why don’t you head downstairs to get some breakfast while I finish up and get dressed. I’ll meet you there.”

              Evelyn nodded, still tired from waking up. The Lady walked down the hall and disappeared while turning the corner. Kire stared at her from behind, eyeing her body up and down with a cocky smile. Her beautiful curves lingered in his head, making this mind race; however, he tried to shake those lustful thoughts from his skull, remembering that his boxers won’t cover much of his excitement. The redhead composed himself, finished his work, and checked to make sure everything was spotless and tidy as he was ordered to do, then once everything was up to Kire’s satisfaction, he returned the vacuum to its closet, and rushed to his room. Every time he saw an opportunity to spend time with Evelyn, Kire eagerly accepted it, finishing everything he needed to do so he can get to know her better. Kire didn’t know what drove him to be this considerate of Evelyn and their time together, but he knew he didn’t want the feeling to stop.

              After getting dressed, Kire tried to make himself somewhat presentable by checking himself out in the mirror. He examined his teeth, eyes, hair, every spot on his head that he could see. The thought of Edwin coming by to take Evelyn bothered him more than usual; Kire knew Evelyn was not fond of Edwin, but he couldn’t figure out why she didn’t leave him. He focused intently at his reflection and narrowed his eyes, peering deep into his pupils where he remained deep in thought. A lonely sigh escaped his lips when he couldn’t think up a viable reason for such a one-sided relationship and thought it would be best not to meddle with their affairs. After fixing his tang top, tying his bootlace, and tightening his bandana, Kire took a sharp breath and left for the kitchen where he promised to meet the Lady.

              Kire rushed to the kitchen where he met up with Evelyn and her father grabbing their breakfast, fresh from the chefs. He wondered when Mr. Nicestone woke up and started to regret meeting Evelyn, fearing that her father would lash out at him as he usually did. Before he had a chance to turn and head back, Evelyn called out to him with the biggest grin on her face. The women urged him to grab a plate and sit with them at the dining table just outside the kitchen. Mr. Nicestone fired an icy stare at Kire that made him go pale, so he quickly did as Evelyn told him and grabbed a plate of breakfast. He kept his distance from Evelyn, knowing her father would rip him in half if he got too close to his daughter. While the two settled in their seats, Kire stood nervously by the table, opposite from Evelyn. The Lady gave Kire an awkward stare before noticing the glare her father was giving him, no doubt probably paralyzing him with fear. Before she had a chance to say something, Mr. Nicestone spoke in his booming voice, which even startled her.

              “Aren’t you going to take a seat? Sit!”

              “Y-Yeah.” Kire immediately sat down on the seat across from Evelyn. He didn’t muster a word, silently eating his bacon.

              “So, did you finish all your chores, boy?” Mr. Nicetsone asked.

              “Yes, sir.”

              “I wonder why you woke up so early this morning… Are you planning something?”

              “Daddy! What did I tell you?” Evelyn butted in, scolding him with a fork in her hand. “No intimidation techniques! Besides, don’t you have something to say to Kire?”

              The father grumbled at the end of Evelyn’s sentence. Kire gazed between the two, listening to their voices. A sigh came from Mr. Nicestone, this being the first one Kire heard since he got here, and he felt the bulky man turn his body to face him directly. Mr. Nicestone cleaned his mouth from the food and spoke in a low voice, tame and relaxed. It spooked Kire since he was so used to his loud and authoritative voice.

              “I wish to apologize to you.” Mr. Nicestone frowned slightly upon saying his words. “My behavior two weeks ago was unacceptable. I set a bad example of myself not only to you but my daughter, and the people working here. I… erm, I hope you can forgive me. That… is not the man I am today.”

              Kire stared at Mr. Nicestone with wide eyes filled with confusion, shock, and doubt. He knew that Evelyn coaxed her father to apologize but what intrigued him the most was that the man actually listened to her plea. Kire assumed that Mr. Nicestone would rather die than apologize for what he did, especially if it involves his daughter in any way.

              “Uhhh, it’s no problem,” Kire said sheepishly. “Don’t sweat it.”

              “I wish to make it up to you somehow; please tell me what you want.”

              “Less hard labor would be really nice,” Kire answered instantly. “I also wouldn’t mind goin’ back home, even if it’s for the weekend…”

              “I’ll ease up on the chores, but you are not to leave this house under any circumstances.”

              “Why not?”

              “Simple, I do not trust you. If you leave, how do I know you won’t run away? You will pay back what you took from both my daughter and me.”

              “And how am I gonna do that? I ain’t got no money!”

              “I subtract a day of work as a dollar of what you owe. In total, you owe me and Evelyn roughly 800 dollars.”

              Kire paused for a moment to do the math in his head and then turn his attention back at the father and daughter, eyes wide with disbelief. Mr. Nicestone smirked upon seeing Kire’s reaction, and Evelyn held back a giggle.

              “You expect to keep me here for over two years?!”

              “Indeed. Also, don’t forget I still have your little gadget thing in my possession.”

              “I don’t care about the damn watch anymore! I just want my freedom man!”

              “Then I recommend you behave yourself because I am being extremely generous with you, boy. Who knows, I might let you out sooner than you think. The more you behave, the more I’ll consider it.”

              Kire grumbled to himself, shoving some eggs in his mouth to muffle out the mean things he was about to say. Evelyn let out a chuckle as she watched Kire’s grumpy and childish expression. It wasn’t long until Mr. Nicestone finished his breakfast and rose from his seat. He cleaned his mouth and moved over to Evelyn, kissing her forehead. Without warning, a few workers rushed into the dining room with a suit, a suitcase, and several files, all of which surrounded Mr. Nicestone. Kire watched silently as the father put on his fancy business suit and take the briefcase. The servants were explaining the plans for today’s work and what recommendations they advise he should follow. The chatter stopped the second Mr. Nicestone lifted his hand and turned to face Kire.

              “Today Sir Edwin will be coming over. I do not want you to butt in like last time, so I ordered Gerome to keep a very close eye on you. I suggest you behave yourself or else I’ll ignore your wish for less hard labor.”

              Once he finished his remark to Kire, he turned to his daughter and gently parted her hair to one side.

              “I’ll probably be home a little later than usual, honey, I’ve got a busy day today.”

              “No problem, I’ll be home before you even come back!” Evelyn smiled brightly.

              “That’s my girl! Be good and play nice with Sir Edwin,” The man then turned to Kire and snarled slightly. “and you better keep your distance away from my daughter, boy.”

              “Okay, okay! Yeesh…” Kire rolled his eyes. “I’ll stay away from her.”

              One of the servants politely tapped at Mr.Nicestone’s shoulder, and the father knew it was time to go to work. With one final kiss to Evelyn’s forehead and an icy glare to Kire, the man left the dining room and disappeared down the hall. Evelyn finished eating her breakfast and watched Kire fiddle around with his bacon. He looked like a little kid playing with his food, and to the Lady, it was cute. Evelyn giggled as she saw Kire take a huge bite of his pancake, attempting to eat it whole. A smudge of syrup was seen on the corner of Kire’s lip, and Evelyn chuckled again. Kire’s eyes shot up, stuffing more food in his mouth as he gave the Lady a confused stare.

              “You got syrup on your face.” Evelyn tapped the side of her face to indicate where he should clean. “You should clean yourself up.”

              Without hesitation, Kire grabbed the nearest napkin and cleaned his cheek. It wouldn’t be long until he finished his breakfast, watching as the servants come in and grab their plates and whisk them away. There was a small pause between them before Kire spoke out.

              “So yeah, heard your fiance is comin’ over today.” Kire stretched his arms before rising from his seat. “I should probably stick my nose out of this one before I get in trouble―”

              “Edwin won’t be here for a couple of hours, so we can hang out until then!” Evelyn chirped. “Besides, I want to spend most of the time with Edwin just thinking about the fun times me, and you have! It’ll keep me awake when Edwin starts to brag about himself, as usual.”

              “Why don’t you leave him? If he’s such a pain in the ass, why do you stick with him? You clearly don’t like him.”

              “Well…” Evelyn turned her head to see if anyone was watching or listening to their conversation. She rose from her seat and skipped over to Kire before whispering to him. “I’ll tell you if you tell me your secret.”

              “What secret?”

              “The secret of your past! I want to know your past and how much you’ve changed!”

              “Okay, okay! You really wanna know? I’ll tell you.” Kire whispered back. “But you gotta promise not to get mad, okay?”

              Evelyn nodded before leaning in closer to hear Kire. Her heart pounded with excitement, feeling she will be one step closer to figuring out who Kire really is. Kire pushed himself closer to Evelyn’s ear, smelling the perfume on her body. It gave him a rush, no doubt.

              “Okay, listen closely. One major thing I did in my past was…” Kire flicked his eyes back and forth, checking for any workers. He immediately rose his voice, sounding sarcastic and annoyed. “Not tell anyone my damn past!”

              Evelyn pulled her head back and pressed her hand against her ear. Kire snickered deviously before slipping out of his seat to dodge the Lady’s fist.

              “That was rude!” Evelyn angrily huffed. “Fine, I won’t tell you a thing about Edwin and me!”

              “Whatever, no skin off my back,” The redhead shrugged. “Anyways, you said you wanna hang out so you can block off Eggwin’s pompous attitude, got any ideas?”

              Evelyn smirked and took Kire by his hand, pulling him to the main living room and pointed at a game console with two controllers. Having little knowledge of video games and how to play them, Kire got his butt whooped by Evelyn in all the games except a strategy game. Evelyn seemed a bit frustrated that she could not beat Kire, not even come remotely close. The redhead teased the Lady to which she chased him up the stairs, rushing past Gerome who was busy writing down notes for the day. The butler appeared to be fully aware of the two and their childish ways, occasionally letting out a small laugh whenever they ran by. He noticed how happy the duo appear to be whenever they are given time to be themselves; Kire would not have to worry about Mr. Nicestone, and Lady Evelyn can make a new friend. Despite Mr. Nicestone ordering him to keep Kire away from Evelyn, Gerome knew that the redhead would be no trouble at all.

              Both are young adults, but they act more like children. Gerome thought to himself. I can understand Lady Evelyn’s reason, but what of Kire? Perhaps there is another side of him that we do not know yet. A side of him he is only comfortable showing when he’s around my Lady… What an inquisitive thought.

              As Gerome contemplated his ideas and jotted down a few more notes, the doorbell rang. The noise startled Gerome slightly as he dug into his breast pocket to take out the same pocket watch Kire fixed a while back, checking the time. He realized that several hours passed while he dozed off, pondering about the youngsters; he let out a sigh and fixed his tie, walking towards the main entrance. The butler slicked his hair back and took a deep breath before opening the doors to see Edwin and his two bodyguards by his side. Gerome smiled, bowed his head, and opened the door entirely to allow his guest to enter by gesturing with his arm. The rich boy came inside the house with a broad smile on his face and handed his coat to the butler. Edwin snapped his fingers, and both his guards straighten their backs, awaiting his orders.

              “Go back to the car and keep it warm for when my lovely fiance arrives.” He said before turning to Gerome. “Ah, yes! You’re Gerome, the head butler of this household, correct?”

              “Indeed,” Gerome bowed his head once more. “How may I be of service to you, Sir Edwin?”

              “Tell me, is that man still working here? The disobedient redhead?”

              “Yes, he still works for the Nicestone household.”

              “Is that so..?” Edwin’s voice was full of venom. “Surely his behavior would have made you fire him. Why didn’t you?”

              “I cannot fire anyone working for the Nicestone family. That is a decision that rests on Mr. Nicestone.” Gerome said calmly. “Besides, I say he's improved vastly from the last time you met him. I doubt he’s the same person he was before―”

              “I did not ask for your opinion on how much better he’s gotten. I don’t care about creatures as insignificant as him.” Edwin’s hazel eyes closed before freeing his voice from any malice. “But, I have been waiting long enough for my fiance to show herself. My reservation in The Lounge is set for 7 PM, so please, make haste and call my darling over.”

              “Certainly…” Gerome narrowed his eyes at how Edwin spoke about Kire but remained quiet. He turned to an intercom near the front door and pushed a button. His voice echoed throughout the house through several speakers. “Lady Evelyn, please report to the front entrance, you have a guest waiting for you.”

              Gerome felt uncomfortable around Edwin and his passive-aggressive remarks. He thought that each second that passed fueled Edwin’s rage. The butler didn’t muster a word, fearing that Edwin would direct his anger towards him. It wasn’t long until he saw Evelyn and Kire on the top of the main staircase, giggling and laughing. They mumbled nonsense before jumping inside a laundry basket they brought and pushing themselves downstairs as if they were riding a roller coaster. Both youngsters flew down the steps and slid across the floor past Edwin and Gerome before crashing on a wall. Kire and Evelyn were laid out on the floor, laughing as loud as they could, oblivious to the head butler, their guest, and their reactions. Gerome hid his chuckle while the two young adults helped each other to their feet and high-fived each other, proclaiming that they wanted to do it again. Their intimate bond and genuine joy lit the room and were contagious to Gerome; however, it was cut short when Edwin stepped towards the duo, arms crossed and voice full of animosity.

              “Evelyn, darling, why are you associating yourself with this man?” Edwin glared down at Kire before taking one step towards him. “Don’t you know he’s nothing but trouble?”

              “Sir Edwin,” Gerome began. “I highly doubt he’s the same person―”

              “I did not speak to you, servant,” Edwin said calmly and politely. He turned back to Evelyn. “Now, I’ll ask you again Evelyn. Why are you with this man?”

              “Why not? He’s not doing anything bad.” Said the Lady. “Besides, I was having fun.”

              “Hmph, I think you shouldn’t associate yourself with this man any longer. It appears that his primitive ways are rubbing off on you.” He narrowed his eyes to Kire before wrapping his arm around Evelyn’s waist, a tiny smirk forming on his lips. “We should run along now, I reserved our seats for tonight. We should hurry, I have business to talk about with you anyways, my love.”

              “So, where ya’ headin’?” Kire questioned.

              “We’re heading to a place―” Evelyn was cut off by Edwin gently placing a hand over her mouth.

              “Not another word, my love. We don’t want our special night to be ruined,” Edwin’s hazel eyes trailed directly to Evelyn, his stare making her shiver and suppress anything else she wanted to say. “besides, you want me to keep my promise to you, correct? It would be a shame if I had to…reconsider. Now then, head to the car, my servants are waiting for you. I will meet you there shortly.”

              Kire’s attention spiked when he heard the man threaten the Lady. His emerald green eyes shifted to Evelyn who immediately nodded to Edwin and left out the front door and to the car waiting for her outside. Gerome frowned upon witnessing his Lady go from happy to sad in mere moments. Neither Kire or Gerome understood what Edwin meant in his subtle threat to Evelyn. However, it didn’t sit well with either of them. Kire furrowed his brow as Edwin approached him, arms behind his back and posture full of superiority; the redhead kept his ground against Edwin’s intimidation.

              “I suggest you keep your influence away from my Evelyn, boy,” said Edwin.

              “And if I don’t?” mocked Kire. “I can’t control her when she’s the one runnin’ to me.”

              “Then do everyone here a favor and rot into the depths from whence you came. I have no time to deal with flea-ridden people like yourself.”

              “You scared I can kick your ass?”

              “Oh, on the contrary! You should be wary of your words, boy, because I can bend the rules to my whim if I so please.” Edwin’s tone turned dark before he turned to walk to the door. “Now, be a good boy and stay quiet. I’m off with my date, tell Mr. Nicestone that I should be arriving back home at around 10 PM as he requested. Anyways, farewell, servant and city rat.”

              Before Kire managed to say anything, the doors slammed. He looked out the window to see Edwin casually stroll to his expensive car and take a seat by Evelyn’s side. Eventually, the car rode off past a corner and out of view. Kire sulked at the situation at hand, constantly thinking about how to get Evelyn back and get his revenge on Edwin. His attention shifted to Gerome who let out a sigh, annoyed and baffled at Edwin’s behavior. He, too, thought that the rich lord was rude to him. However, the butler did not tolerate Edwin’s attitude towards Kire. Kire, however, was pacing back and forth, no doubt upset about Edwin’s remarks, or so it seemed. The two men didn’t mutter a single word, either one not knowing what to say first, until Kire finally spoke out, breaking the silence.

              “Damn, I wish I knew where he was takin’ Evelyn…” said Kire. “I’m tryin’ to think of all the fancy-schmancy areas in the city, but I can’t narrow it down to just one.”

              “What is it you plan to do if you knew?” Gerome questioned. “I understand that you are upset with Edwin, but I don’t think to track him down and beating him up will make you look any better.”

              “I’m not gonna beat him up. I just wanna make sure Evelyn is okay and havin’ a good time. I mean, a snob like Eggwin cares more about himself than his fiance.”

              “Why are you so worried about Lady Evelyn?” the butler chuckled. “You used to hate her not even a couple of weeks ago, and now you two are sharing a close bond. Why the drastic change, Kire?”

              “It’s not what you think, Gerome,” Kire said, rolling his eyes. “She’s just my shield against Mr. Nicestone. Evelyn’s got my back when it comes to her father! Besides, the least I can do to pay her back is to give Edwin a hard time.”

              Gerome rolled his eyes before taking out his notes, reviewing what he wrote down earlier. He listened to Kire babble on about Evelyn and Edwin, all of which made the butler smile. He took out his small planner and began to check dates and times. Kire stopped his chatter when Gerome started to pull out his pocket watch and check the time. He jotted something down in his planner, humming a tune as he did so. Kire’s arms crossed, and he began to wonder if Gerome was even listening to him. Suddenly, the head butler spoke up, not taking his eyes away from his planner as he continued to scribble.

              “Edwin said he was going to take Lady Evelyn to a place called The Lounge,” Gerome finally looked up towards Kire, placing the small agenda in a pocket inside his suit. “I own a car, so I can take you there while you bring a smile to Lady Evelyn’s face. I’m sure that Lady Evelyn will appreciate it. Now, let me grab my keys and―”

              “Nah, I know where it is.” Said Kire. “I used to drink there before I got stuck here.”

              “Y-You do? But how? It was only put up not even a month ago.”

              “Gerome, you forgot that I’m a city rat,” Kire said while smirking, tightening his bandana. “Who knows the city better than a city rat? Besides, I’m familiar with the bartender. Anyway, I’m off, and don’t try to stop me.”

              “Wait, hang on! Wouldn’t it be better if I drive you there? What if Mr. Nicestone comes back when you’re gone?”

              “Well, that’s all the more reason why you need to stay here and stall him out. If you come with me, you’ll get in trouble, I can’t have that.” Kire fastened the laces on his boots and headed to the door.

              “A-Are you sure about this? You’ll be in serious trouble should Mr. Nicestone find out you left the house! The area is surrounded by a gate and guards! How will you ever get back in?!”

              “He won’t find out, relax! Does Evelyn have a cell phone on her?”

              “Yes, she has one with her at all times.”

              “Alright, I’ll be back in about an hour and a half. Give or take.” Kire opened the door and turned to face Gerome. “I just need ya’ to do three things for me. Keep Evelyn’s room, and window unlocked until I get back, tell the Boss you ordered pizza when they call the house and distract Boss for a while. I’unno, tell him he should take a relaxing bath because he stinks or somethin’.”

              “O-Okay… I just hope your plan works as easy as you make it sound, Kire…”

              “Yeah, I hope so too.” Kire laughed loudly before giving Gerome a two finger salute and rushing out of the property. “Just trust me!”

              Gerome watched silently as Kire disappeared by the corner, heading directly towards the main gates to the community. He turned pale, fearing the absolute worst. Kire’s final remark made him groan with uncertainty Regardless if he trusted him or not, he decided to follow through with Kire’s plan. The butler closed the door behind him, leaned against it, and wiped the sweat off his forehead with a handkerchief. He nervously reached in his suit to pull out his planner and pen, scratching off what he wrote moments earlier, and writing down something new.

Take Kire to The Lounge and return home before Mr. Nicestone.
Kire departs to The Lounge. Expected to return by: 8:30-9:00pm.

              Gerome slowly hid his agenda within the pockets of his suit and began to compose himself. He knew the idea was sketchy, if not downright stupid, but, oddly enough, he knew Kire would pull through somehow. He couldn’t explain it, but if Kire planned several steps in his plan, he expected no less from a man as cunning as him. Gerome knew what he had to do in order to help Kire and started by heading directly to Evelyn’s room. His only hope was that despite the outcome of Kire’s plan Lady Evelyn returns with a smile on her face.
Now that Kire knows the location of Evelyn and Edwin, what does he plan to do in order to help Evelyn? What are the risks he is willing to take? How will he arrive back to the Nicestone Manor and why is he doing this for Evelyn? With a plan up his sleeve, Kire better know what he's doing or suffer at the hand of Edwin. Will Kire get away with his plan or will Edwin roll him on the palm of his hand?


Kire had no problem leaving the gated community and dashed in the direction of where The Lounge was in. The location was not far from where he was, coincidentally, close to the Rich district he was trapped in. Kire knew it would take him a little while to run to the location, but at the same time, he had a ride to get him back to the Nicestone Manor without a problem. The redhead jogged at a steady pace to make sure he doesn’t tire himself out as he quickly dipped through an alleyway to get close to his destination. 

The evening was still young when Edwin and Evelyn arrived at The Lounge. The first ones out of the car were the guards, each one opening the door for their side. One guard held out his arm for Evelyn while the other bowed for Edwin, handing him his coat. Once the Lady and Sir were out of their car, Edwin waved his hand, dismissing the two from the area. Edwin snaked an arm around Evelyn’s waist, tugging her closer to his body as they entered the vicinity. The area inside had a large stage in the front where they do their nightly specials or other entertainment routines. Near the back, there was a long bar table with several baristas working on cocktails and other drinks. The entire establishment was bigger than Evelyn anticipated and before long, the two were directed by a waitress to their seats. The young waitress handed them their menus and bowed her head, informing them that she will return shortly. They sat near the middle, a perfect distance from the stage. A jazz band played elegantly on stage, setting the mode for the building. This being the first time she’s been here, Evelyn stared on with wide eyes as Edwin smirked at her reaction.

“Impressed, darling?” Edwin gently lifted the menu to take a gander of what was being served. “A breath of fresh air in a highly respected establishment might be what it takes to get your mind out of those silly cartoons. Besides, I assume you know why I brought you here?”

“If it’s about my father’s company, then I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t know anything.”

“Please, I know enough about your father’s company to write a book about it. I’m here to simply have a wonderful time with my beloved.” Edwin chuckled.

“That’s a first…” Evelyn said while glancing at the menu.

“Now now, why must you deny me access to your fickle heart? I assume you like a little challenge or has that disappointing redhead told you to defy me?”

“He has nothing to do with it!” Evelyn snapped back. “Just leave him alone, okay?”

“Oh? Have a struck a nerve, Evelyn?” Edwin smirked. “Very well, I’ll leave him out of our business, but know this, my little blooming flower…” His voice lowered to a whisper, and his eyes narrowed. “I can make him disappear if he doesn’t watch his step. You understand that, don’t you?”

Evelyn’s blood ran cold. She knew that Edwin did not lie when he says he can make people disappear. Her eyes soften at her fiance’s threat, and she nodded to show her understanding.

“Good, I wouldn’t want to use valuable resources for common city filth such as him.”

Evelyn remained silent as she watched the jazz band play. Her mind raced at how much she wanted to kick Edwin in the face, but her body prevented her from doing anything stupid. The music settled her nerves, and when the waitress returned to take their orders, it was a repeat of what happened last time. The Lady refused to speak up this time, succumbing to Edwin’s pull on her leash. All she could think of right now is how much fun she had with Kire before she left until eventually, he was all she could see in her mind.

The night was still young when the waitress returned with their food. The jazz band was nearing the end of their shift, and a few people were getting up and leaving. Those who left were easily replaced with newcomers that arrived shortly. A young boy dressed in high status approached Edwin from within a crowd as a waitress lead his family by the table. The kid was smiling brightly with his parents in tow and appeared to be in awe in Edwin’s presence.

“Woooow! Look! It’s Edwin Walters!” the boy squealed. “He’s the police guy, right mommy?!”

“Please, have some manners around others, darling.” His mother said, trying to contain her little one. “Please excuse him, he gets too excited when meeting celebrities.”

“Oh, no worries at all, ma’am!” Edwin’s tone was different from how he spoke to Evelyn. He seemed more human. His double act disgusted Evelyn. “So you know my work, little man?”

“Yeah! You catch all the bad guys around the city! A true hero of justice! It’s soooo cool!”

“Aww, I’m just doing the right thing. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my dad, Chief of Law Enforcement. You know what he does, right?”

“Yeah! He gets all the bad guys and puts ‘em in jail!”

“That’s right! Wow, you sure know a lot of justice, huh?” Edwin chuckled before placing a hand atop the boy’s head. “I should tell my dad to save you a spot for when you become a police officer. Would you like that?”

“Yeah! I promise to be the best cop and serve for the Walters!” The boy cheered. “Thanks a bunch, Edwin! You’re super cool!”

The small child continued to boast Edwin’s ego until the family finally decided to part ways, thanking Edwin for his service. Few people that passed by their table recognized Edwin and stopped by to say hello or make small chatter. Evelyn was bored throughout the entire time, rolling her eyes at how Edwin talked to his fans. She flicked a few leaves from her salad and thought about the fun she had with Kire, each minute making her body warm up with joy. When the Lady’s mind drifted away, she noticed a hint of red off the corner of her eye. She paid no attention to it, and when Edwin finally returned his awareness to acknowledge Evelyn, the thought of the red speck disappeared from Evelyn’s mind. Edwin smiled confidently, eyeing his fiance seductively as he gently placed a hand atop Evelyn’s and began to have a casual talk with her. When Edwin spoke about his day and what he did on his business trips, he sounded normal, even tolerable. It’s a rare side for Evelyn to see, but it was one she actually enjoyed being around. He appeared to be…human, for once. As the two spoke, Edwin lifted his wine glass to declare a toast for his beautiful fiancee.

The night drifted and all Evelyn could think about is Kire and how to help him. The distraction the Lady posed caught Edwin’s eye. He took a sip of his wine and rose a brow, curious to know what was going on within Evelyn’s head.

“Is something bothering you, love?” Edwin said. “You appear distraught. What is weighing in your head?”

Evelyn was hesitant about answering him, fearing that bringing up Kire’s name would spark an argument.

“Well, I have a friend, and he’s a bit of an enigma…” The Lady said softly. “See, I’m trying to help him out, but I think he can’t open up due to the events of his past. He’s a cool guy, and I feel like he has trouble accepting or moving on. I want to help him, but he won’t tell me anything about what happened to him. It’s almost like he’s scared he’ll go back to what he was.”

“Sounds like this friend of yours has something he desperately wants to hide. Perhaps he performed unspeakable acts and wishes to hide his true nature from the public.” Edwin turned to face Evelyn directly. “You should stay away from people like that, they often hide their true ambitions.”

“Well… this guy isn’t like that. I think he’s changed a lot from when I first met him! I want to help him, but I don’t know where to start.”

“Evelyn, by any chance, you wouldn’t happen to be talking about that redhead dog your family owns?”

“N-No way! It’s just some guy I met in a chat room! I don’t even know his name!”

“Very well…” Edwin took another sip of wine from his glass. “I see you take me for a fool, Evelyn. I know who you speak of, and your manners of protecting him are only hindering him. Rest assured my dear, should I find any suspicious activity on your precious little pet, I will take measures into my own hand. After all, I’m a cop, and I cannot allow scum to fester within the streets of Hope City, especially around my favorite little flower. I hope I make myself clear, Evelyn.”

Evelyn lowered her head and picked at her salad again. She could feel Edwin’s intense stare weigh her down. When she looked up, she saw the same red speck from earlier behind Edwin off in the distance. The man with the red hair slowly turned his head; if his handsome features didn’t remind Evelyn of who he was, then his emerald green eyes certainly did. The Lady’s eyes widen in shock to see Kire waving back at her then placing a finger over his mouth, informing her to remain quiet about seeing him.

“Evelyn?” Edwin took note of her expression and raised a brow. He turned around to see what caught her attention with narrow eyes.

Kire immediately ducked to the floor in order to avoid being caught by Edwin’s piercing gaze. As the man was about to get up and investigate, Evelyn placed a hand atop his own and reached for the side of his face. With a quick flick of her wrist, she easily combed through Edwin’s hair. However, with each flick, she was indicating to Kire to hurry up and move out of the scene.

“Sorry, I thought I saw something land on your head and it spooked me,” Evelyn chuckled. “It looked like a bug.”

Evelyn’s façade worked, tricking Edwin so he can remain seated. Kire was quick on catching on to Evelyn’s signal and dashed past the few tables to reach the bar. He took a seat and tried his best to remain hidden behind the biggest guy he could find. Edwin may not be able to see Kire from his angle, but he was still in danger, nonetheless. Playing things as calmly as possible would be Kire’ salvation, in the long run, so he tried to keep his mind focused on the main objective: Making Evelyn smile. While the Jazz band played their classic tunes, Kire was approached by one of the baristas, and he swiftly made a smile at the man. The barista, stonefaced and unmoving, finished serving a drink to a customer and glared down at Kire who remained unphased by his serious persona. It was apparent the deadpan barista was holding back his laughter, it wasn’t long until he cracked.

Kire laughed alongside with him, both slapping hands together in a unique handshake to show their acquaintance between each other. After a light hug, the barista began to fill two shot glasses with Kire’s favorite liquor and took a shot with him. Both men slammed the tiny glass on the counter and winced in pain before letting out a hearty exhale of relief. The barista began to fill another shot glass while he began small talk with Kire. The way he spoke and the words he said were almost identical to Kire, if not slightly more refined. It was obvious that he was from the deeper part of the city, just like Kire.

“So, what brings ya’ back here, Kire?” said the barista. “You don’t look like you’re in trouble, which is rare.”

“Nah, I just stopped by to ask for a favor,” Kire said with a smirk. “You guys still host the Friday Show? Y’know, where you pick someone from the audience and shoot water balloons on ‘em?”

“Yeah, we also added pies in the mix, and in the end, we drop some feathers on the guy. Why? You wanna be part of the show or somethin’?”

“I got a better nominee to take my place,” Kire jabbed a thumb towards Evelyn and Edwin. “See those two? Well, the Lady ain’t exactly pleased with the entitled cockatoo she’s with. She’s a woman with top quality taste and her little boy toy ain’t livin’ up to her standards.”

“Okay, so?”

“So, I need you to make her fiance the star of the Friday Show. Just make it random and say he was the lucky one picked.”

“I would do that if I could. See, I can’t just go up and grab some dude and slam a pie on his face. Unless you give me a really good reason why he would make a good show, I can’t do it. What makes him so special anyway?”

“Well, it’s just sad to see the daughter of the Nicestone family not enjoy her time here. Imagine how much money she’ll pool over if you poke at her fiance. I mean, look at her, she’s loaded! Why make a beautiful girl like that suffer boredom? Her fiance, Edwin, isn’t really pullin’ his―”

“Wait, did’ja say ‘Edwin?’ Like, Edwin Walters? The Edwin Walters? He’s the son of the chief of Law Enforcement, ain’t he?” The barista glanced at the table the couple sat in. “Heh, that changes a lot. He’s pretty popular and well known ‘round these parts, so I think he’ll make an interesting puppet for the audience. Besides, I think people will like tossing a pie or two on a cop’s face. Alright, I’ll consider your favor but only under one condition.”

“What is it?”

“Think you can get me the number of the cutie? If she ever dumps him, I’ll be available for the pickin’! Man, with a girl like that, I don’t gotta work a day in my life.”

“Anyway, I can ring your deal for somethin’ better tho’. How ‘bout I hit up Ray and tell him to give you a discount on your herbs? Y’know I’m super close with Ray, so this is a one time deal. What do ya’ say?”

“Alright, fine. I’ll probably ask her myself when her fiance is up on the stage. Give me a minute to talk to the manager, and we’ll have this place set up.”

“One last thing,” Kire interjected. “Don’t mention my name. It’s a surprise for the Lady, so keep my name out of it.”

The barista gave Kire a nod as he moved around the counter and disappeared behind a door meant for employees only. Taking a quick sip from the shot glass given to him earlier, Kire gasped at the strong liquor before feeling the liquid slip down his body. He was quick to nab a menu and glance over it, trying his best to hide his face should Edwin turn around to notice him. He occasionally peeked over the menu to check on Evelyn and how she was holding up. They both locked eyes, Evelyn giving him a thumbs up, acknowledging the situation. Kire returned the gesture and held up three fingers, to which the Lady took for three minutes and took action to distract Edwin for the needed time. Evelyn began to have a conversation with Edwin, talking about her usual nonsense and her father’s company. The look on Edwin’s face showed suspicion and boredom; however, he took her bait and kept his attention on her, or rather, away from Kire.

As the couple talked, Kire made his way to the bathroom, trying his best to keep himself hidden from view. He waited patiently for the music to stop and some announcer to speak on a microphone. The suspense was starting to make him nervous, believing Edwin would have some trick up his sleeve and ruining his plan. The man paced back and forth, thinking up some sort of extra footing he can catch himself on should the worst come to play. He knew he was playing with luck, but he failed to realize the consequences until he committed his act. Kire, however, stuck strongly with his plan. Feeling an urge to relieve himself, he entered the handicapped stall of the restroom and unzipped his pants. Footsteps were overheard entering the bathroom along with another zipper being lowered. Kire paid no attention at first and used his foot to push the handle in order to flush while zipping his pants back up.

He opened the stall door and saw a familiar blond set of hair and a fancy set of threads. At first, Kire didn’t seem to catch on to who it was until he blinked to reassure his belief. Edwin Walters was stuck in the same bathroom as him, and his heart almost stopped. The blood in his veins ran as cold as ice, and his skin lost all color when he noticed Edwin slowly turning to face him. His immediate reflex was to gasp and push himself back into the stall before Edwin noticed him, and slamming the door shut, locking it in a panic. Kire placed a hand over his chest, feeling that his heart was ready to explode; it nearly did when he heard Edwin’s voice calling out to him.

“You make quite the ruckus,” Edwin said, followed by a quick zipping noise.

“I-I apologize, good sir!” Kire lowered his voice as much he could, trying his best to disguise it. “I.. uhh, I forgot to wash my hands. Can’t leave the restroom without washin’ your hands, right?”

“I agree, you wouldn’t want to be like those City Rats, festering the streets with their diseases.”

“Y-Yeah. Those damn rats…” Kire opened the faucet for cold water to flow and began to wash his hands, hoping Edwin would leave.

“You should come with me to see my fiance, I love showing her off. She’s so beautiful; however, all she cares about is helping people in the bowels of this city. It’s like watching a princess play with rats in a sewer. Rather distasteful, if you ask me.” Edwin said while he began to clean his hands, occasionally eyeing himself on the mirror. “She’s currently infatuated with an incompetent redhead. What a defective man he is.”

“Oh yeah?” Kire immediately grew interested. “What does she say?”

“She nags about helping him and how he suffered throughout his life. She mentioned something about ‘giving him a chance he never had’ or ‘Everyone deserves a second chance.’ It’s a bunch of nonsense, just speaking about that man makes me feel as if my intelligence is being tested. Or torture.”

Kire narrowed his eyes and scoffed slightly at Edwin’s comment. “I see. Well, I suppose―”

“Why don’t you come out already? You sound rather familiar. …Your voice reminds me of that repugnant redhead. It’s almost like he was masking his voice…”

Kire bit his lip, fearing the absolute worse. He knew that Edwin would not leave until he got an answer and if Edwin saw his face now, his entire plan would go up in flames. He had to think of something, anything, to keep Edwin from seeing him. With Kire’s current situation, he was unable to escape through any vents or the main door. He realized that if he couldn’t get out, he would have to make Edwin leave instead.

Goddamnit! How the hell am I gonna make this guy leave?!

“How long do you plan to stay in there?”

Frantically, Kire looked around his stall area and couldn’t think up any quick-witted plan. It all seemed useless and the more he made Edwin wait, the worse his fate will be. He swallowed hard, unable to find a way out of this mess he caught himself in and decided it was best to not struggle and accept whatever befell him. Just as Kire was about to reach out and open the door to his stall, he overheard the main door creak open and the familiar voice of the bartender echo within the bathroom.

“If there is an Edwin Walters in this restroom, please report back to your table, there is a special surprise waiting upon your arrival, courtesy of The Lounge.”

There was a small moment of silence after the main door squeaked shut. The faucet from Edwin’s side ran as he cleaned his hands. Each second felt like hours to Kire as he peeked through the narrow opening of his stall door. Edwin appeared to be looking back at him, almost like he knew who he was speaking to. It made Kire’s entire body freeze in fear. The Sir chuckled before fixing his collar and saying one last remark.

“Looks like you got lucky. I apologize for pressuring you so much, you just sound oddly like that pathetic redhead dog the Nicestones own. A man like him better watch his step or else I might have to put the mutt down.”

Edwin left the restroom, but his passive threat left Kire speechless and curious. What did Edwin mean and what is he going to do? Kire heard the same squeak of the main door, and it caught his attention, fearing Edwin had returned to finish him off. The barista that saved Kire earlier laughed, knowing Kire was probably in a panic.

“You owe me big time, Kire. I expect that girl’s number along with Ray’s discount! Hurry up and get your butt out of here, the show is gonna start soon.”

“Yeah, yeah…I’m comin’.” Said Kire

That was way too close for comfort… I need a break after this. Note to self: Never lock myself in a bathroom ever again. Not my brightest plan…

While Kire was catching his breath, Edwin returned to his seat beside Evelyn. The Lady smiled upon his return and told him that there was a show about to start. Her eyes glittered at the thought of what might show, telling Edwin what she believed might show. The talk between the two stopped when the lights dimmed, and the curtains of the main stage opened. On stage was a large and expensive armchair, no doubt something made for royalty. On each side of the chair were two gorgeous women dressed as seductive bunny maids. Next to the women were two long tables with nothing on them so far. Behind the main lighting was the jazz band, silently watching the crowd get riled up. Finally, the spokesman for the show walked up the steps of the stage and was handed a microphone by the lovely maids. The men in the audience were heard wolf calling and cheering to be picked as the bunny girls teased them.

The waitresses went around handing slips of paper to their guests, each with a very hard question and the answer. They purposely skipped Edwin’s table, knowing full well he was going to be the guest of honor. The announcer tapped the microphone several times, testing it before he began the show.

“Welcome ladies and gentlemen to The Lounge’s Hot Seat!” said the announcer. “The show is simple! If you get picked, you have a seat near our lovely girls and answer a few simple questions! Be sure to answer them right or else our beautiful ladies might have to punish you for it! Now then, without any more waiting, let’s see who our lucky contender will be!”

The lights dimmed further to show the spotlight flashing across the audience. Each table was lit by the spotlight until it began to slow down, giving the crowd anticipation over where it would land. When the light finally stopped, it beamed over Edwin and Evelyn’s table. Both of them appeared to be shocked while the crowd cheered for one of them to step up. The bunny maids approached the table and gently took hold of Edwin’s arms, pulling him up from his seat and holding onto him seductively.

“It appears the light has chosen a celebrity!” The announcer said, shocked. “Is that the head of Law Enforcement, Sir Edwin Walters? My, my, I believe this will be our best show yet, and in front of his fiance, the lovely and ever beautiful, Evelyn Nicestone! Please, take a seat, Edwin! The Hot Seat!”

Edwin appeared hesitant at first but heard the cheer of the crowd push him forward. He smirked to himself, not only enjoying the treatment of what he was getting, but showing a second face to the people watching him, improving his public image. After little thought, the Sir walked up to the stage, a girl in each arm and the roar of an audience to boost his ego. Edwin turned to face the audience and offered a humble bow with a smile. Evelyn stared at Edwin with a slight scowl on her face; she knew that Edwin was playing two faces to sway the audience. Out of everyone in the room, she knew him best. This was not the Edwin she knew, not even close. To Edwin, his public image meant more to him than Evelyn, considering his line of work, and he would do anything to make sure the crowd remains loyal to his side. Evelyn played along and clapped with the audience while Edwin took a seat on the infamous Hot Seat. The announcer went over to Edwin and then projected his voice to the roaring crowd.

“Wow, listen to the people cheer! Now then, Mr. Walters, since you’re known for your police duties, it would only be fitting if our lovely ladies handcuffed you to the chair, yes?”

“By all means, as long as they do a proper search on my body, yes? We must follow protocol!” Edwin teased at the ladies as they cuffed him to the chair with fluffy red handcuffs.

“Oooh~! It looks like our officer has been very bad lately! I think it’s about time we showed him a lesson.” The announcer laughed while standing on the spotlight. He took out a small flash card from the inside of his suit and read it out loud. “The rules of this game are simple: Edwin must answer each question provided by the audience correctly or suffer at the hands of our ladies. How good is Edwin with trivia? We’re about to know soon enough! However, before we start, let’s ask his fiance!”

The spotlight turned to land directly on Evelyn’s table. The Lady blushed and offered a cute wave to the audience looking at her. She turned to Edwin who was more preoccupied with the girls around him, but shot Evelyn a glance from the corner of his eye, causing a shiver to go up to her spine.

“Miss Evelyn Nicestone! How good would you say Edwin is with answering questions?”

“He’s quite the guy. No question slips by him because he always seems to have the answer. I doubt he’ll get any of them wrong, he’s a pretty smart guy!” Evelyn said while pulling a forced smile.

“Ohoho~! What about you, sir?” The announcer seemed to be directing his question to someone sitting next to Evelyn.

“Well, I think he’s in for a challenge.” A familiar voice rung to Evelyn. Sitting in Edwin’s spot was Kire, failing to notice when and how he even got there. “I heard these questions are preeeeetty tough.”

Edwin shot his head in the direction of Kire’s voice, and his eyes showed his fury. He wanted to stand up but realized he was cuffed to the chair. Not wanting to cause a scene, he waited for Kire to finish talking before clearing his throat and speaking out in order to catch the attention of the people, particularly the announcer. He had a large grin on his face, speaking with high authority as he looked down upon Kire.

“I’m afraid I don’t know that man at all. I don’t think I gave him permission―”

“Oh, he says that all the time!” Kire butted in. “He’s a really funny guy! He jokes around by actin’ like he don’t know me! We go waaaaay back! You guys wanna know what a ‘City Rat’ is?”

Edwin’s eyes widen with dread as he struggled against the cuffs and laughed nervously to stop Kire before he spilled any information. The way Edwin seemed to silently beg Kire to keep his mouth shut amused the redhead and he taunted the man more.

“Aww, c’mon now Eggwin! That joke was hilarious!” Kire pressed, smirking to the Lord.

“I-I think that’s just an inside joke between us! Don’t you think it should remain that way? A-Anywho, let us start the show, I believe my fiance is more than excited to see this show unravel itself!”

“I very much agree!” The announcer said loudly. “Now then, who would like to go first?”

The announcer pointed at a table, and the spotlight followed. The woman of the table stood up with the same paper the waitresses handed out earlier. Her eyes turned to face the audience than to Edwin, who appeared more preoccupied with Kire sitting next to Evelyn. The woman was handed a microphone and later approached by the happy-go-lucky announcer. He peered over her shoulder and gave the audience an exaggerated shocked expression, getting several laughs.
“Alright Ma’am, don’t be scared, our favorite little officer won’t bite, but I can’t say the same for our ladies!” There was another roar of laughter from the crowd. “So, what’s the question ask?”

“What is the distance between Hope City and Faith Town?”

“Oh, that’s easy…” Edwin said proudly, finally taking his glare off Kire. “In a car, it’s about―”

“In inches.” The woman finished.

Edwin paused, his face showing all signs of uncertainty as he scrambled to think up an answer. The public all laughed at how ridiculous the question was and Edwin’s expression. The spotlight pointed at Edwin directly as he laughed nervously to keep his composure. His proud demeanor was reduced to that of a timid child desperately trying to escape the trouble he is in. The Lord struggled against the cuffs slightly, but he straightened his back and kept his friendly façade for the crowd.

“Uhm… I’m afraid I do not know. If I had to take a guess… a lot? Ahaha!” Edwin faked a smile.

“Nice try Edwin! I’m afraid you won’t escape your punishment for getting it wrong. Ladies, show Edwin what happens to people who get wrong answers!”

The bunny maids nodded to each other and slowly approached Edwin from behind, gently tracing their fingers against his shoulders and chest. One of the maids sat on his lap and unbuttoned his shirt. Enticed, Edwin didn’t seem to mind the tease and encouraged the ladies to do their worse. While one maid distracted Edwin, the other went back to the tables located on the stage, which now had several pies. The crowd was told to keep quiet by the sneaky maid as she took a pie from the table. The people watching played along and cheered on for Edwin, some giggling at what is going to unfold next.

The seductive bunny maid traced her finger across Edwin’s chin and leaned in closer to his face before giving a sly wink at Evelyn, who smiled brightly at what was going to happen.

“Oh my, what will your fiance think about this..? I think this type of punishment is far too severe for you.”

“Don’t worry love, I think I can handle it,” Edwin smirked. “I’ve trained for this. Give me your best shot.”

“Very well!” The woman hopped off from Edwin’s lap and allowed her friend to take the spotlight. The second bunny girl held up the pie for everyone to see and Edwin’s face went from aroused to perplexed in seconds.

“W-Wait, hold on…” Edwin said in a low voice.

“Hit ‘im good, ladies!” Kire cheered on.

The public chanted for the woman to pie Edwin on the face, despite Edwin telling her not to. As much as Edwin struggled against the cuffs, he couldn’t move out of the way when the Bunny Maid slammed the pie against his face. The audience erupted into a roar of laughter, and Edwin’s head slumped slightly, finally understanding the grasp of this show. His hands gripped the arms of the chair he sat on, nails digging into the fabric slightly as the sense of humiliation overwhelmed him. Despite the crowd’s howling noise, all Edwin heard was Kire’s snort of laughter. The only thought that ran through his mind was making the redhead suffer. When the noise died down, Edwin let out a fake laugh, trying his best to keep his second persona smiling brightly for the people watching him.
The announcer went from table to table, asking questions and pounding Edwin with a pie to the face every time he got a question wrong. All Edwin can do is sit there and smile, hoping his embarrassment would end soon. The maids occasionally went to Edwin to clean his face, and when he was able to see again, Edwin noticed Kire taking a stand when the announcer approached him next. His blood boiled when he saw the cocky smile Kire had plastered on his face. It didn’t make matters better when there was nothing he could do about it. All he can hope for is for the show to end.

“Now then, please tell us the question you have!” The announcer declared. “Will Edwin be given a break or will his friend make him suffer?”

“Aww, I would never make him suffer,” Kire snickered. “Alright Eggwin, ready for this, buddy? True or false: Lizard Ball Z is an overseas cartoon.”

“That’s true, my fiance loves that show and tells me all about it.” Edwin glared at Kire. “No pie for me.”

“True, but I wanna see a pie smash on your face, lil’ Eggwin.”  The redhead smirked. “Nothin’ personal Eggwin, but the show must go on, yeah?”

Edwin broke character for a moment, cursing at Kire and struggling against the cuffs and chair wildly. The audience thought it was some friendly drama between two close buddies, none the wiser to Edwin’s detest. Edwin was silenced with a pie slammed against his face yet again. At that point, Edwin knew he was defeated by Kire, at least this time. For the time being, he played along, acting like a gentleman and accepting every piece of pastry thrown at him. All he could think about was how to find a way to screw Kire over. The humiliation he received was something he could never tolerate. He hated Kire, but he dreaded being made into a fool. It was one of the things he simply could not stand for. Those who made him look like a fool were on his personal hit list, and to Edwin, Kire was at the very top of that list. Underneath all the pie filling, Edwin gritted his teeth, growling with rage.

Evelyn was tearing up with how hard she laughed, using a napkin to clean her face before she turned to Kire, having the brightest and liveliest smile on her face. Her face washed away all the insecurities and doubt Kire held within his chest and he found himself laughing as hard as she did. With the announcer going from table to table, asking the audience for their questions, and while the crowd was busy with Edwin, Evelyn leaned closer to Kire to have a private conversation. Despite the funny show, she still worried about how Kire will escape Edwin’s wrath and get back home.

“Hey, how did you find me?” The Lady spoke into Kire’s ear.

“Gerome gave me a tip on your location,” Kire said.

“How did you manage to get Edwin up on the stage? I don’t think he signed up for this, not that I’m complaining.”

“I know the bartender. He’s an old buddy of mine. Well, more like an acquaintance. Anyway, you got your phone with ya’? I need to borrow it.”

“My phone? What for?”

“I need it to get back home. The guards won’t let me back in and I can’t make a ruckus when security is super tight in your area.”

“What’s my phone going to do to help? You can’t call the guards.”

“I never said I was gonna call ‘em. I got other ways of enterin’ that place.”

“How can I trust you?”

“I got Eggwin off your back for a while, didn’t I? Besides I haven’t lied to you so far, eh?”

“But what if Daddy catches you? He’ll rip you to shreds if he finds out you left the house without his permission. Even if he doesn’t find out on his own, Edwin will surely tell him. I can’t protect you from getting caught redhanded, Kire.”

“Yeah, well, I ain’t askin’ you to protect me, now am I?” Kire chuckled. “Listen, I got this! I’ve been in tighter spots before, this is nothin’ to me.”

Evelyn remained silent, a frown forming on her lips as she was hesitant on trusting him. Her mind raced about how her father would treat him. Kire noticed her lack of enthusiasm and scratched the back of his head, rolling his eyes at her doubt. However, his voice was soft and caring, almost as if he actually worried for Evelyn’s concern about him.

“Look, I know you don’t want me to get in trouble, so I’ll avoid your old man at all times, how that’s sound? Gerome has my back too, so I’ll be fine, okay?”

“But how will you stop Edwin from telling Papa?”

“I wouldn’t worry so much about that, I got more up my sleeve! You have to trust me just this once, Evelyn. I’ll prove to you that I ain’t just all talk. Also, I promise to give you back your phone.”

Evelyn appeared hesitant at first. The Lady dug into her purse and pulled out a very expensive looking phone, handing it to Kire. Kire took the phone and pushed the home button, the phone asking for the password. Without skipping a beat, Kire looked up to Evelyn, wiggling the phone.

“It’s 5-4-7-3,” Evelyn deadpanned. “Don’t even think about doing something stupid! I’ll kick your ass if you send text messages to people or delete my photos―”

“I won’t do that, chillax!” said Kire. “Alright, I’ll have to start movin’ out soon, but I can’t leave without givin’ Eggwin a lil’ partin’ gift, yeah? Oh, and, by the way, Evelyn, what toppin’s do you like on your pizza?”

“Huh? Well, I guess pepperoni, mushrooms, and fresh basil. Why?”

“Oh, no reason. I’ll show you when I get home. Anyway, time for the grand finale! You’re gonna love it!”

Kire stood up and took a sip of Edwin’s drink, lifting it to the air when he finished it entirely. By this point, Edwin was entirely covered with pie filling and pie crust. His clothes were ruined, his hair a mess, and his ego destroyed. Edwin did not give up his façade. When the ladies cleared his face, Edwin saw Kire’s sly smirk towards him which drove him near his breaking point. Kire pointed at Edwin as he whispered to the announcer. The announcer nodded to Kire and walked off to the waitresses, leaving Kire with the microphone and permission to walk on stage, which he did so promptly. Kire circled Edwin, occasionally taking a piece of pie filling from the man’s body and tasting it.

“Ah, lil’ Eggwin, I assume you had a wonderful time? I know I did, who agrees?” The audience cheered on from Kire’s question. “I think the end is comin’ near, so you’ll be set free pretty soon.”

“Rejoice…” Edwin threatened slightly.

“Ah, but we ain’t finished just yet. The grand finale is just ‘round the corner! I hope you ain’t scared of a lil’ water.”

Edwin lifted his head to see the audience holding balloons full of water. Kire then stood before Edwin, blocking his view of the crowd, and held his arm out to Evelyn. The spotlight directed itself on the Lady and Kire’s cocky grin turned to an inviting smile as he urged Evelyn to come up on stage with him. Evelyn’s eyes lit up, and she rushed up on the stage as fast as her heels could take her. She took hold of Kire’s hand as she went up the steps and felt her cheeks warm up from the look in his eyes. She couldn’t explain it, but the look empowered her to stand before Edwin without fear.

“Now then, I think the Lady should have some part in this show, don’t we agree? Who wants to see her toss a pie on Eggwin’s face?” Kire encouraged the audience which, no doubt, demanded more. “Looks like they wanna see more carnage on our special lil’ officer. Who am I to deny them and who are you to decline~?”

“You’ll regret this, scumbag…” Edwin growled under his breath. “I’ll make sure to ruin your―”

“Huh, what was that~?” Kire said while shoving the microphone to Edwin’s face. “I think the crowd would love to hear your remarks!”

“E-Errm! I said I’m going to get you back for this! I’ll make sure to get you on this seat next time! Ahaha…”

“We’ll see about that! Anyway, is the mega pie ready?” Kire turned to the two bunny maids who had a pie bigger than the rest. They handed it to Evelyn who struggled slightly to hold it because of how big it was. Kire helped Evelyn by holding one side of the pie while Evelyn held another side. The two smirked towards Edwin. “Now then, ain’t this a sight! Eggwin’s gorgeous fiance and amazing best friend, ready to pie him down. Alright Evelyn, ready~?”


The duo slammed the large pie directly on Edwin, making a considerable splatter and mess behind him. They both made sure to rub all the mess on Edwin’s clothes and body. Kire purposely forced pie filling down Edwin’s shirt and deep into his hair while Evelyn rubbed the mess harder on his face. Both youngsters laughed as loud as the crowd did and high five’d each other with their dirty hands. The announcer came back up on the stage, avoiding to get his shoes messy, as he casually strolled to Kire who handed him back the microphone. The crowd screamed with joy and laughter, enjoying the show, or rather, the humiliating day for Edwin. The two bunny maids gave Evelyn and Kire a water balloon each and clapped their hands, cheering the two on.

“Time for the audience to have a jab at Edwin too!” The announcer said. “Everyone here was given a balloon full of water. Each table will be called forth to help poor Edwin wash up. He looks like a mess! However, we’ll let the two closest to him get first dibs.”

The lord spat out some pie that got into his mouth, slowly lifting his head to have the excess pie slid off his face. His eyes were glowing with malice and sheer resentment towards Kire, and even with pie splattered across his face, the look made Kire shiver slightly. Evelyn hopped between the two and held up the balloon, readying herself and taking aim at Edwin. Her stuck out her tongue, aiming her sights to make sure she hits him directly on his face. At this point, Edwin’s glare was no longer making Evelyn nervous and scared as it was before, which shocked Edwin. He usually had complete control over Evelyn, but ever since she came in contact with Kire, or at least around him, she’s been more defiant. Evelyn, on the other hand, grabbed Kire’s arm and pulled him close to her so he can take aim with the balloon as she did. The Lady’s innocence brought Kire back from the paralyzing glare of Edwin and gave him the courage to taunt the Lord.

“Heh, I think it’s time for your bath, my dear,” Evelyn mocked. “You’ve been quite a naughty man!”

“Yeah, and one last thing,” Kire pulled his arm back, taking aim at Edwin. He lowered his voice, mimicking the man he pretended to be in the bathroom. “Don’t make a ruckus.”

Edwin’s eyes widen at Kire’s last statement, knowing exactly what he meant by it. Before he had a chance to scream and lash out at him, two balloons slammed against his face, bursting, and releasing the water inside. The lord coughed and cursed under his breath, threatening Kire every chance he could. Evelyn turned to the crowd and took a bow with Kire copying her until both were happily escorted down and off the stage. They returned to their table and watched the crowd stand up and take turns to form a line so they can hit Edwin with their balloons. The sight of Edwin’s face and the situation he was in made Kire laugh himself into tears. Edwin remained silent about the whole ordeal, putting on his fake smile, polite character, and inviting charisma as to not show the crowd his true intentions.

He’ll pay for this… I will not be made into a fool in front of my sheep...

As the crowd pegged Edwin with their balloons, Kire had already left the establishment. Evelyn was not aware of when Kire left, but she only hoped that he would arrive home before they did, for his sake.

Kire had run off for nearly half a block before coming to a stop by the corner of the street. He scanned his surroundings and took out Evelyn’s phone, being very careful not to ruin it. With the passcode Evelyn gave him, he had full access to the device and quickly began to dial a number he knew from memory. He continued to nervously keep a lookout while the phone rang on the other side.

“C’mon, c’mon…”

“Thank you for calling Tony’s Pizza Palace, May I please take your―”

“Tony, it’s me!” said Kire.

“Kire? That you? Haha, It’s been a while! Wha’cha been up to man?!” Tony roared through the phone.

“Not much, but I ain’t got time for small talk. Listen, I need a favor…”

“Oh boy, what did you do now?”

“Nothin’! I just need a ride, y’know, with the car I fixed for ya’?”

“You tryin’ to sneak things out again?”

“More like sneak myself in. Listen, it’s a super long story, and I don’t have time.”

“Then you best be makin’ time, Kire! I got a shop I need t’ keep runnin’, and I don’t want your shenanigans to mess me up, y’hear?”

“Ugh, I need to smuggle myself back into Rich Top Hill. I gotta be there before someone else, or I’m gonna be in huge trouble. I made a promise to someone, and I can’t back down now.”

“Well, if that’s the case, then no. I ain’t ‘bout to have my business shut down and my name exposed.”

Kire bit his lip, his eyes frantically looking for some sort of answer to give Tony.

“Well, ain’t that a shame,” Kire began. “The family I work for is filthy rich, I mean, loaded. If they really like your pizza, they might recommend their other rich friends. Y’know how rich people are, always throwin’ money at somethin’ they like. Imagine how much money you’ll make with just sellin’ your pizza to these folk. You wouldn’t haf’ta work for the market anymore. Hell, I think the amount they’ll pay for this one order will be enough to set you for a month.”

There was a long pause on the other side of the phone before Tony spoke up, his voice softer than before.

“Alright, I’ll be sendin’ someone your way. You better know what you’re doing, Kire. You mess me up, and you’ll regret it!”

“Yeah, yeah, alright, listen up, I want two large pizzas with pepperoni, mushrooms, and fresh basil. Make sure to put Jalapenos on one of ‘em. Gimmie the cheesy bread and two orders of wings, make one of ‘em spicy. Ehh, thrown in those chocolate donuts ya’ll make.”

“Right… Anythin’ else?”

“Make it quick and pick me up by The Lounge. You’ll be headin’ to the Nicestone Manor on Rich Top Hill, so get to it.”

“Alright, we’ll be there in 20 minutes with the car.”
(My post was so big I had to make part 2 into two separate posts.)

Back in the manor, Gerome paced back and forth with worry splattered across his face. He was regretting having Kire leave the mansion and thought he ran off, taking advantage of the situation. To cope with his anxiety, Gerome tried to rearrange the silverware on the large dining table and bring in the final dishes for the workers to clean. While he worked, a beeping noise echoed through the house that indicated someone opening a door, particularly the main door. Gerome assumed it to be the Lady and Sir but sank when he noticed it was Mr. Nicestone who had come home early. All that ran through Gerome’s mind was terror.

Without skipping a beat, Gerome rushed to his Lord in order to take his coat. He welcomed Mr. Nicestone back, trying his best to hide the worry on his face.
“Ah, welcome back Mr. Nicestone! You’re home rather early…”

“Yes, work wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be. I was lucky to finish early today, traffic is getting rather bad, especially coming here.”

“O-Oh my… Lucky you made it out of the mess!”

“Indeed! Anyway, has Evelyn arrived home yet? I got good news for her!”

“I’m afraid our Lady has not arrived yet. I wouldn’t worry, I believe she will arrive shortly if she isn’t stuck in traffic…”

“And what of that redhead? Has he been behaving himself?”

“Y-Yes! I ordered him to stay in his room until you arrive back home! Y-You know, to avoid all sorts of trouble! So far, he’s been rather tame.”

“Good, I suppose he’s proven himself for now. I should go and give him a sort of break for behaving so well.”

Gerome’s eyes widen in horror as he nearly dropped Mr. Nicestone’s coat, watching Mr. Nicestone walk off in the direction of Kire’s room. His mind scrambled to think up some way to stop his Lord when Kire’s words echoed in his head. He strolled by the man and took a sharp breath.

“E-Excuse me, My lord… With all due respect, you emit a certain… odor.” Gerome said, taking a step back. 

“Odor?” Mr. Nicestone lifted his arm to take a whiff of his scent. “Oh, I see what you mean. I guess I worked a bit harder than I thought. Guess my nerves are a bit wired up, huh?”

“Well, I recommend a nice hot bath to soak in, it helps you relieve a day of backbreaking work and foul aromas.” Gerome took hold of Mr. Nicestone’s arm to lead him up the stairs to the wing his room resided on. “Come along now, my Lord! The sooner you bathe, the better you will feel!”

Gerome gently shoved his Lord down the hall and into the master bedroom, all in hopes to give Kire some extra time to come home before Mr. Nicestone found out he left. In turn, he would also keep Mr. Nicestone away from Edwin, who no doubt will expose Kire. 

Oh please hurry up, Kire. I can only stall Mr. Nicestone for so long until you return!

While the butler and Master entered the room, Gerome tried his best to work a little slower than usual to stall for precious seconds Kire might need. As Mr. Nicestone undressed in the bathroom, Gerome picked up after him and made several recommendations for what he should do. 

“Might I recommend the lavender scented body wash or the hibiscus?” Gerome began. “And would you prefer a bathrobe or a fresh cotton towel for when you finish your soak?”

“Oh my, you’re extra attentive today, Gerome,” Mr. Nicestone chuckled. “Lavander would be fine, and I would like my usual bathrobe.”

“Certainly, my lord! Errm, it looks like we’re running low on the lavender body wash, allow me to fetch you a new one!”

“Gerome, are you alright? You appear very nervous.”

“N-No! Everything is just fine! I, uhhh, I drank an extra cup of coffee this morning! I guess you can say I still have the jitters. I apologize if this concerns you, my Lord.”

“But you rarely drink coffee.”

“Errrm, I woke up rather tired this morning. I didn’t have a good night sleep, a terrible nightmare, unfortunately. It is nothing to fret over, however.”

Gerome turned the faucet for the large pool-like bathtub that Mr, Nicestone stepped in. The butler made sure to check the temperature of the water and warm it up to his Lord’s liking. As Mr. Nicestone watched the tub filled with water, he removed the last bits of clothing on his body. Gerome gathered the fabrics and bowed his head.

“I will return shortly with your bathrobe and the lavender scented soap. Please remain here in the meanwhile and relax your body.”

Gerome closed the bathroom door for his master and immediately stood wide-eyed at the situation he was in. Kire still had not returned, and his Lady would be home any minute with Edwin. Mr. Nicestone mentioned traffic as he was coming back and Gerome thought of the worst. He hurriedly placed all of Mr. Nicestone’s belongings where they should be and rushed to find the soap he promised, all the meanwhile, waiting for Kire to call the main house somehow. With quick haste, he returned to Mr. Nicestone, soap in one hand and bathrobe in another. Mr. Nicestone was already in the waters, face deep within the bubbles, awaiting Gerome’s return. 

“You were right, Gerome,” said Mr. Nicestone. “This is very relaxing…”

“I’m glad you like it, my Lord. I'd be sure to inform you if our Lady had arrived back with Sir Walters. In the meanwhile, just allow the warm waters and soothing fragrance to relieve you of your stress and questionable scent. I need to finish up some minor touches on the home, please call me should you need anything, my Lord.”

Gerome bowed his head once again and slowly closed the door behind him as he left Mr. Nicestone in the privacy of his bath. The panic returned to Gerome while he scrambled within his handy planner to search for Evelyn’s cell phone number. The butler rushed downstairs to the main entrance with his cell phone at hand, trying to remain calm as Kire told him to, and began to dial the numbers. As the phone rang on the other end, Gerome tapped his fingers nervously against the wall and glance behind him to see if anyone was listening to his conversation. As the seconds rolled by, Gerome’s shoulders slumped, and his frown deepens. With each ring that he heard from the other end, his blood ran colder, and his heart sank until, finally, someone picked up the phone. 


“K-Kire? Please tell me that’s you.”

“The one and only. What’s up?”

“Don’t ‘what’s up’ me! Where are you?!”

“In a car. I called up my ol’ buddies to lend me a ride. I’m on my way with the pizza and―”

“Kire, Mr. Nicestone is home! He said that the roads are heavy with traffic!”

“Oh yeah?” Kire chuckled on the other end. “What ever will I do~?”

“Kire, I’m serious! How will you get home on time before Sir Edwin?!”

“You worry too damn much, Gerome! I know more than one way to get to the manor. Look, just make sure to keep Evelyn’s window open and distract the Boss for a lil’ while. Even if Edwin arrives before I do, I got’cha covered, alright?”

“I sure hope you’re right…” Gerome glanced behind him, nervous of any eavesdroppers. “Very well, I’ll try my best to stall for time. Just hurry up!”

“And one last thing, I told my friend that you’ll be paying for the pizza. Hope that ain’t a problem for you, Gerome! Cash only!”

The line cut off before Gerome could scold Kire. Gerome pressed his back against the wall and let out a sigh, struggling to keep his composure. For a while, he had to place his trust in Kire, even if he held doubts. Not all was bad for Gerome; at least he was certain that Kire hadn’t run away, and with that knowledge, it forced a smile on his face. He pulled out his pocket watch to check the time before heading to his room to gather the money he needed to pay for the pizza. 

Kire, stuffed comfortably in a hidden space within the trunk of the delivery car, poked his head out through one of the seats from a secret opening cut within the cushion. The redhead began to laugh with the driver about his time in The Lounge and how he described Edwin’s face. The two were not on any main road but rather back alleys and unmarked paths littered throughout the city. With the directions Kire gave, the driver already knew how to get there, especially given how fast Kire needed to be at the manor.  

As the two continued to talk, they were arriving near the famous Rich Top Hill. As to Mr. Nicestone’s words, traffic heading to the Hill was intense, and the only way inside had a long line of cars for the non-residents. Both the driver and Kire agreed that it would be a short while before they passed the main gate and enter the community. Kire started to crack jokes for the youngster until the boy pointed out the very nice car rolling by the line. The redhead glanced out the window and saw a spectacular car, one he could only dream of owning. However, after squinting to get a better look of the people inside, he noticed Evelyn laughing at a very annoyed Edwin. He gasped and shoved his head back inside the hidden space and telling the boy he needed to hurry. As their turn approached, Edwin’s car was already inside the gate.

Edwin’s car rolled up the driveway, stopping in front of the large lily fountain that stood across the main entrance of the Nicestone manor. The same servant from earlier stepped out of the car and opened Evelyn’s door first to allow the Lady out, Edwin followed shortly. Edwin, still covered in pie filling and drenched with water, looked like he was ready to kill anyone who stood before him. The bodyguard bowed humbly to the duo before offering them their coats, which Edwin snatched in annoyance. He was offered a handkerchief by the servant and proceeded to clean parts of his face; however, no amount of cleaning will wash off his shame and rage. Evelyn’s snickering fueled Edwin’s irritation, and he turned to the Lady, his grip on her wrist certainly silenced her. Edwin smirked to his beloved and reminded her about their deal―one Evelyn was desperate to keep, to win her back to submission. Soon, his crushing grip on Evelyn’s wrist eased up as he interlocked his fingers with hers, tugging her close, so she was within the range of his whisper.

“You better pray I don’t catch that redhead,” Edwin whispered. “Because if I do, I’ll leave a bullet in his head…”

“Don’t touch him!” Evelyn snapped.

“Then I highly suggest you train your dog to obey.”

Evelyn lowered her gaze to the floor in defeat as she held on to Edwin’s hand out of submission. The two headed to the front door and rang the doorbell, waiting for either a worker or Gerome to open it. While the doorbell echoed throughout the house, Gerome perked his head up, assuming it was either the pizza or Kire. He let out a sigh of relief and smiled confidently, assuming the worst of his worries were about to disappear. Gerome hurried to the front door, fixed his tie, and slowly opened the door, a grin spread wide across his face. His smile immediately disappeared upon seeing Edwin and Evelyn standing on the other side. Gerome’s dark skin turned pale with fear upon witnessing the state of Edwin and only wondered what Kire had done to him. The head butler stepped to the side, bowing his head upon their arrival and taking Evelyn’s coat.

“A-Ahh, I assume you had fun, Sir Walters?” Gerome said softly, trying not to make eye contact with the man. “W-Would you like something to clean yourself with?”

“Bring me Mr. Nicestone,” Edwin demanded.

“I-I’m afraid Mr. Nicestone is busy―”

“Bring me Mr. Nicestone.”

Both Evelyn and Gerome felt a cold shiver roll up their spines, and without a second thought, Gerome rushed out the main lobby, heading directly to Mr. Nicestone’s wing. Edwin released Evelyn’s hand and took a deep breath, cleaning his the remainder of his face with the handkerchief the driver gave him. His voice was low and menacing despite being very calm. Evelyn was nearly frozen with fear as Edwin began to pace in front of her, eyeing her down like prey.

“You know, people like that redhead always have amusing backstories. It would be a shame if I found out something… interesting about him. Then I would have no choice but to set an arrest warrant for his name.”

“Leave him alone, Edwin…” Evelyn took a step back from Edwin.

“Are you afraid of what I’ll do to him..? Scared that something as simple as his name will have him at the mercy of the law? At my mercy?” Edwin stepped closer to Evelyn before gripping her shirt and pulling her closer to him. He leaned towards her ear, whispering. “I have the power to make people disappear, Evelyn…”

Evelyn shoved Edwin away from her, eyes wide with fear and anger. Her hands balled into fists as she tried to think up some way to get back at him, but all she wanted to do was hit him. She knew he was right; the power he had was what kept the city from going into chaos. No matter how she looked at it, she couldn’t touch Edwin without having serious consequences. 

Evelyn said nothing as she lowered her defensive stance. 

“See, was that so hard?” Edwin took hold of Evelyn’s hand and yanked her close to his body. He wrapped an arm around her waist to hold her against him as he stared deep into her eyes. “Now then, my beautiful flower, tell me his name so we can put an end to this topic. I want to have it memorized.” He attempted to kiss Evelyn’s lips, but her hand caught his face, pushing him away.

Gerome, panting after having to run up the stairs, arrived at Mr. Nicestone’s door. He leaned his ear against it to listen if his Lord had finished his bath, but he heard no clothes rustling. As he entered the room, he was careful not to make any noise and noticed the bathroom lights still on. A load was lifted off of Gerome’s shoulders while he began to think up a way to stall for more time. Gerome checked his pocket watch and took a deep breath, knowing he cannot keep Edwin waiting any longer.
Once within Mr. Nicestone’s room, the head butler gently knocked on the bathroom door and entered with his back to his Lord, bathrobe in hand. Gerome informed him of Evelyn’s return, and much to the father’s delight rushed to get himself dried up and dressed. The Lord informed Gerome to tell the duo he will be arriving shortly to greet them, to which the butler nodded and left the room, closing the door behind him. Before rushing off to Evelyn and Edwin, Gerome did one final check on Evelyn’s window before reporting back to the couple, bowing his head and informing them that Mr. Nicestone will be arriving shortly to greet them. Edwin eyed Gerome suspiciously while he cleaned off the last of any pie filling on his body; however, the stains remained as did his wet attire.

Evelyn remained silent about Edwin’s little talk and her mood instantly lit up upon seeing her father. The Lady rushed to his side and hugged him, babbling about her time in The Lounge. Despite Edwin’s threats earlier, Evelyn appeared to feel safer around the people she knew and cared about. This meant nothing to Edwin. 

“Ohoho~! I see you two had a nice time!” Mr. Nicestone laughed at Edwin. “Especially you, Mr. Walters! What happened to you?”

“Oh, just a victim of comedy. I believe the three of us had a wonderful time!”

“The three of you?”

“Why, yes! Me, Evelyn and the repugnant redhead servant you have.”

“I never gave him permission to leave.”

“Oh my, I guess that would explain why he tried to hide from my view. He was scared of getting caught.”

“Evelyn, is this true?”

“Absolutely not! I think Edwin is trying to get our friend in trouble! After all, they did get into a scuffle in their first meeting.” The Lady fired back. “Even if our servant was there, I certainly didn’t see anyone with red hair in that establishment.”

“I can confirm that he remained within the manor the whole time. As I mentioned earlier, I sent him to his room to avoid any troubles while I tended the place.” Gerome added in. “Perhaps you mistook someone else for our loyal servant?”

“I am very confident I saw that revolting redhead, however, if you are so sure he’s in the manor, why not bring him down?” 

“Indeed, send someone to fetch him at once. I would like to get to the bottom of this!” said Mr. Nicestone.

Gerome and Evelyn shot a glance at each other, both eyes full of worry. The butler nodded to his lord and called a nearby maid to go and get the wanted redhead. The air in the main lobby was heavier thanks to the hostility Edwin gave. The seconds felt like hours as the group waited for the maid to return. The silence was broken when the house phone rang. No one dared to move except Mr. Nicestone who picked up and answered the phone. He spoke with a loud authority until his voice lowered with confusion. 

“Pizza? I’m afraid I did not order any pizza.” Said Mr. Nicestone.

“A-Ah! Pardon me, my lord! I was expecting a call from the pizza crew!” Gerome rushed to the man and swiftly took the phone from him. “Yes, yes. The Nicestone manor should be to your left!”

“You ordered pizza, Gerome?”

“Yes, I thought I would reward the redhead for behaving. He said he wanted pizza from a place he knew. I offered to even pay for it.”

Edwin’s eyes narrowed upon listening to Gerome’s excuse. When the butler hung up the phone, his Lord took a glance at his watch, still waiting for the young maid to return. Gerome took out his wallet and counted the several hundred dollar bills he was willing to pay for the pizza. Finally, when the doorbell rang, it was Edwin who decided to take action and answer the door. He expected to find Kire but growled under his breath upon seeing the meager looking delivery boy. The Sir rolled his eyes and turned to the family behind him, gesturing to the boy before him. 

Gerome rushed up immediately, money already in hand. The delivery boy held up a receipt and read out loud what was ordered. Evelyn’s head perked upon hearing it was the same type of pizza she enjoyed. The pizza boy gave Gerome a wink as he listed off all the items.

“So that’s two large pizzas with mushrooms, pepperoni, and fresh basil, one with jalapenos,” The boy opened one of the boxes and shook his head. “Oh, m’bad. This ain’t it. Hang on, I got it in my car somewhere.”

The boy continued to go back and forth between Gerome and his car giving the butler each correct item on the list. Edwin grew more irritated, counting each time the delivery boy went to his car. He crossed his arms until he noticed the young maid returning down the stairs with a look of worry on her face. His smirk grew as he approached Mr. Nicestone and turned his attention to the young lady. Gerome paid the driver a set of hundreds and closed the door behind him, nearly dropping the food as he heard Mr. Nicestone’s booming voice alert almost everyone on the first floor. 

“He’s not in his room?!”

“Maybe while we were talking, he decided to walk around!” Evelyn pointed out.  “T-That just means he’s somewhere in the house!”

“Surely, the young maid would have seen him along the way, yes?” said Edwin confidently. He turned to Mr. Nicestone. “You should allow my family to train that redhead for a while, Mr. Nicestone.”

“No way! He’s part of our family, not yours! You just want to get him in trouble!”

As Edwin and Evelyn tried to convince Mr. Nicestone, the father spoke above both of them, silencing their bickering. All the noise would echo throughout the house, causing a few workers to slowly peer their curiously heads into the main lobby. Edwin would continue to belittle Kire which caused Evelyn to snap back to his defense. Gerome, in a state of panic, did not know how to calm the triangle of blame between father, daughter, and fiance. The situation was escalating. Mr. Nicestone sent guards to search his house for Kire and bring him to the lobby and told his other workers to kindly return to their rooms. Everyone scurried on the main floor, obeying Mr. Nicestone’s orders. 

As the group waited, Evelyn and Gerome stared in horror as Edwin and Mr. Nicestone talked about searching the city for Kire should he not be in the manor. Both their minds raced about Kire’s fate and if he was even in the manor at this point. The Lady’s usual bright smile dimmed to a frown, spreading itself to Gerome. Evelyn knew that if Kire was not found, all her fun times with him would come to an end. All the laughter, joy, and awkwardness would be gone. Tears began to swell in her eyes until a very familiar voice rang out from the top of the stairs.

“Hey, what the hell is goin’ on? I heard tons of people runnin’ around and screamin’.”

The voice alerted everyone in the main lobby. Overhead was Kire, soaking wet from taking a shower, his hair still dripping heavily as the only thing that covered him from the nude was a lone towel draped around his waist. He stared back at the group, confused as they returned the look. Evelyn’s tears of worry turned to joy as soon as she saw her favorite redhead return home safely. Gerome let out a sigh of relief as he realized everything went according to Kire’s plan.

“Where were you?!” Mr. Nicestone shouted. “We were about to search the whole house for you!”

“I was takin’ a shower! I wanna wash off the stress of the chores I did today,” Kire said while he eyed Edwin, holding back his laugh. “What happened to you? You look like a mess.”

“How did you―?! There is no way you got here on foot! Someone had to have brought you here!” Edwin stumbled over his words. “You were at The Lounge!”

“I told you he was trying to get him in trouble, Papa!” Evelyn reminded her father. “The whole time he told me how much he didn’t like him!”

“You still mad 'bout that?” Kire mocked. “I never left this house, how could I anyway? Even if I did, the times don't add up. I can't outrun a car y'know. Besides, it ain’t like the guards would let me back in anyway.”

“He’s right, Edwin,” Mr. Nicestone turned his hard glare to the young Sir. “Even if he did sneak back in, the alarms in the house would alert everyone if any window or door was opened from the outside. I heard no such alarm, and I doubt anyone else did, right?”

Mr. Nicestone turned to Gerome who shook his head, his other workers and guards followed.

“B-But he was there! I saw him! He sat right next to Evelyn! Both of them threw a pie on my face! They were both on stage! She was with him the entire time! Evelyn is probably covering up for him and―” 

“You implyin’ that she ain’t tellin’ the truth?” Kire smirked. “I know I’m foolish but I ain’t dumb enough to call Mr. Nicestone’s daughter a liar.”

“Indeed, Sir Walters. I did not raise my daughter to be a liar nor will I tolerate people calling her as such! I will not allow you to belittle my servant anymore or make any more assumptions about my daughter!” Mr. Nicestone pointed at the door, his voice loud but calm. “It appears you are letting your personal vendetta of my servant cloud your judgment. I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to leave if you continue, Edwin.”

“See, he’s not such a bad guy, Papa! Edwin is just a bit upset about their first encounter.” Evelyn smiled. “Right, Kire?”

There was a small pause between her last sentence and the realization of what she did. Her eyes widen with fear, and a cold sweat consumed her body. The Lady felt a malicious gaze land upon her quivering body, knowing fully well from who it came from. She couldn’t register the last couple of minutes that passed by. The entire world was mute; all she could hear was Gerome opening the door for Edwin and his final words. The words haunted her.

“I apologize for my rude and unacceptable behavior today, Mr. Nicestone. I promise to learn from this and never make a wild assumption again. I certainly hope there is no bad blood between us. However, I believe I’ll get to know your servant a little more after today. Isn’t that right, Kire..?”

The man bowed his head before taking his leave. The room had an eerie feel to it, and the air felt still. Evelyn looked up to Kire, almost apologizing for what she did to him. Kire looked back at the Lady, confused. Mr. Nicestone and Gerome headed to the kitchen with the pizza, both of which were excited to give it a taste. Kire was about to follow but was stopped by one of the guards who mysteriously held a fresh pair of boxers. Without hesitation, he removed his towel and slipped in the comfy boxers, much to the dismay of the guards. Kire slid down the rail of the stairs and stood by Evelyn’s side, noticing her odd expression. 

The redhead waited for the guards to disappear as he urged Evelyn to follow him to someplace more private. Once both youngsters were somewhere they can talk more freely, Evelyn’s grim expression became more apparent. Kire tried his best to calm her down, but nothing seemed to be working. Finally, he slumped his shoulders.

“What’s wrong with you?” said Kire. “Don’t tell me you have second thoughts.”

“Edwin memorized your name…” Evelyn whispered.

“So..? Lots of people know my name.” Kire paused for a moment before finally realizing what is troubling her. “Oh, I get it. You’re scared he’s gonna find out lots of bad things ‘bout me ‘cause he’s a cop, right?”

Evelyn nodded slowly.

“You worry too much, Evelyn,” Kire sighed. “I ain’t helpless. He ain’t gonna do shit to me, so relax. Besides, I got more people to worry about than your fiance.”

Evelyn’s face wasn’t content with Kire’s answer. Her grimace and worry for Kire’s safety made the air around her uncomfortable. Whatever emotion Evelyn was feeling seemed to be apparent, even in the space around her. Kire grumbled in bitterness while he scratched the back of his head to think up a valid thing to tell her.
“Look, I’ll be careful, alright? I hate it when you get all mopey and stuff so quit it.” Kire turned away, blushing. “Anyway, let’s get some pizza, I’m starving.”

The Lady’s smile brought back all the joy not only within the air but within Kire as well. The redhead made a genuine smile as he allowed Evelyn to go ahead of him, following her to the kitchen. There, they met Gerome and Mr. Nicestone gulping down some icy water, no doubt having taken a bite of the spicy wings he ordered. Putting all spicy things to the side, Kire and the rest of the family enjoyed the late dinner they had, listening to Gerome as he spoke about his travels across the world. Everyone took turns, talking about a funny story that happened in their lives, Kire having the most outrageous and funniest ones. For once, Mr. Nicestone seemed to enjoy Kire’s company, and at the same time, Kire saw a kinder man, the one Evelyn spoke of. As the night grew closer, Kire was the first one to depart to his room, his overwhelming exhaustion taking the best of him.

Once the rest of the family succumbed to their fatigue, Gerome took their plates and washed the final dishes available. He said his farewells to the father and daughter as they both withdrew themselves to their rooms. The manor was quiet, and only the calm winds were heard blowing across the sky. Evelyn managed to sneak her way to Kire’s room and gently open the door, careful not to wake him up. Kire was laid out across his bed, faintly snoring, and with one leg hanging over the edge. The Lady shook her head with a giggle and very carefully pushed his leg up and positioned him better on the bed before placing the covers over his almost nude body. Her hand slowly parted his red hair to the side so she can get a better view of his face and whispered: “Thank you.”

When Evelyn finally arrived in her room, she didn't remember leaving the window open. She closed the window and passed her attention to the phone on her bed. Instinctively, the Lady began to check to see if Kire didn’t do anything stupid in her phone when she noticed she had missed a few messages. Scrolling through her texts, the number she found belonged to the barista who had been talking to Kire earlier. She remembered giving him her number shortly after Kire left. As she scanned through the messages, it started off tame with the barista saying how beautiful she was and was replied with a picture of Kire, no doubt taken by him as a joke. They went back and forth for a while until Evelyn spotted something interesting.

Make sure to get rid of the film, cop is gonna b after that shit
Already done. Give my thx to Ray

Evelyn stared on in silence as she continued to dig around through her phone at the last numbers Kire called. One number in specific was the pizza place that came over to the house. With a quick glance to her window and phone, the Lady’s eyes grew larger when she began to put the pieces together. When it all came into one picture, Evelyn finally understood Kire's entire plan. You sly dog...

Finally slipping into her night gown, Evelyn turned off all the lights to her room and plopped herself on the bed, her face only visible by the light emitting from her phone. Reading the messages one last time, she paused upon seeing Kire’s picture and enlarged it. 

You were already ten steps ahead of Edwin…even before you left the manor… You knew exactly what…you were doing…weren’t you… Kire..?

As sleep consumed Evelyn, one final message appeared on her phone, and as the light disappeared, the Lady finally succumbed to her slumber.

Photo Saved.
This is nothing relating to the story in this thread but I wrote this down as an alternative to the opening. I'm not sure if I want it to be official or not. You guys decide.

Tiny rays of early morning sun trickled through the small cracks of a sheet covering a window. It was not entirely dark due to three computer screens illuminating one corner of the small studio apartment. The artificial light bounced off a man that scanned the monitors with emerald eyes, the only vivid contrast within the light and darkness. The only noise within the room was the rapid tapping of keys on a keyboard and the occasional chuckle from the man. His hands worked swiftly on the keyboard, never once taking his gaze off the main monitor in front of him. The screen to the left was open with a connection to another computer as it hosted a private communication browser with an unknown user while the one to his right was displaying a list of names. One in specific was highlighted, Kire Rebbel. The center monitor displayed hundreds of lines of source code from a website dedicated to preventing crimes and finding criminals. Green eyes scanned the code looking for a vulnerability so he could slip silently into the site. Another chuckle came from the man when it did not take him long to find a flaw to exploit the site and the information inside of it. He found several usernames, emails, and passwords, each one belonging to the administrators of the website. With a few clicks from the mouse, he copied all he needed to and turned to the monitor with the live connection.

The man typed on a small chat with the receiver on the other side.

Still think I can’t get in? Last chance~!

There was a small pause before a reply came back.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

The man rolled his eyes before taking a specific username and password and entering the credentials to access the site under administrative powers, allowing him to do as he pleased with all the information in his hands. Before he attempted to shift things around, he took screenshots of all he saw, relaying it back to the monitor on the right and saving it on a separate folder for future reference. The man cracked his knuckles before scrolling through all the privileges this certain member had access to, specifically the list of criminals and their crimes. He copied the name highlighted from earlier and pasted it on the search finder until a single result came up. He clicked the record and the silence was broken by his sudden outburst in laughter.

“I’m wanted for assault and suspected to be part of a homicide,” Kire Rebbel mocked. “They’d say anythin’ to scare people now a days, I swear.”

Kire examined the charged and the picture they used to identify him. It was an old picture of him walking in a crowd and unaware of the photo taken. Copper red hair within a black bandana with green spots, green eyes, slightly average build, and loose clothing. Scrolling past the picture, he had access to edit the information as he pleased. Kire typed away, eyes glued to the screen as he deleted the charge, picture, and eventually, the file altogether. He opened the source code once again and typed a few commands inside it before closing it off. He refreshed the page and instead of showing his false record, it showed a single line of text saying: “File erased from record. No information is available on this page. Do you believe me now~?”

Kire smirked within the darkness of his room and awaited a response from the chat he was in. As he waited, he stretched his arms above his head and popped a few joints while he did so. He scrolled through any other names he could find and found it more interesting to see the charges they were accused of. Finally, after a few minutes of casually invading the network, the user from the chat replied. 

Alright, you win.

No shit.

Meet me at the usual spot for your reward.

You know how expensive I can get~

The screen displayed that the user had left the chat and gave Kire a reason to get up from his seat to stretch his legs. He carefully treaded in the dark and came beside the only window in his apartment, slowly lifting the sheet only to be blinded by the natural light coming from the bright morning sun. He grunted in annoyance as he stared down at the streets filling up with cars, buses, and people. No longer distracted by his computer, he felt the wave of hunger set in and heard his stomach growl, demanding food. It only took him a few minutes to get dressed and prepare himself to leave to meet up with his friend. He grabbed his keys, shoving them in his pocket before heading to the door, however, he stopped himself and turned back to his desk. He pulled out a drawer with a single black bandana inside and tied it around his head to cover most of his red hair, only leaving a few tuffs of hair sticking out from the holes on the bandana. 

Kire unlocked the several locks on his door and left his room, eager to meet up with his friend. He skipped down the stairs, careful not to find the receptionist on his way out. Once out the main lobby, he took a breath of fresh air, heading straight to the vast city line that loomed over the horizon.
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