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7. Starting to Believe
Multi-chapter
Reading Time: 37 minutes
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Details
Idol

Yamada Ryosuke

Relationship

Yamada x OC

Ship Name

Yamada Ryosuke x Elliot Meadows

Type

Chaptered Story

Genre

Fluffy, Romance, Slice of Life, Idol Romance

Rating

PG-13 (Strong Language)

Warnings

Animal death, veterinarian situations

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Synopsis

“Ryosuke, I want to believe in those things, you make me want to believe in them,” she whispered, “but...it’s hard...I just...it’s hard, that’s all.”

She let him lift her chin, his eyes soft as he held her own, “Hey, I am the last person to tell you that you can’t be cautious or a cynic, you know? I see a lot of the realities in the world, but there are still some things I believe in.”

“I want to believe in them, too,” Elliot whispered, smiling when he leaned forward to kiss her red nose.

“I’ll make you believe in them,” he whispered...

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Despite their efforts, as it turned out, Ryosuke and Elliot were unable to have their first date as planned—Elliot was called into work for an emergency surgery this time, instead of it being Ryosuke’s schedule and she’d apologized profusely for having to postpone. Still they had spent the time apart texting and calling one another, and as both their schedules were insanely busy with his tour schedule and all of the animals in the country appearing unwell at the same time—they had not been able to see each other for well over a month in person. 

Ryosuke couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d been living with, a nervous feeling in the pit of his stomach that the thing Elliot had been most afraid of, his life being too much chaos, too much of a whirlwind for her was coming true at the very start of their relationship, even though she never said anything to make him think she was concerned about it.


Late September


Ryosuke: I should go to sleep…5am is an early wake up

Ryosuke: (-_-) zzz 

Elliot:  I hope you have sweet dreams!

Ryosuke: The only way I could have sweet dreams is if I could see you

Elliot: I’m sorry ( .. )

Ryosuke: I wish I could come see you right now

Ryosuke:  ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ

Elliot: It’s 11:30 and we both have early work days tomorrow

Ryosuke: I know but it would be worth being tired just to see your face for even just a few minutes

Ryosuke: .·´¯`(>▂<)´¯`·.

Elliot: Am I supposed to be the practical one here or the one that says I’m waiting for you at the door?

Ryosuke: The latter I think

Ryosuke:  o(^▽^)o

Elliot: ٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و Then I will be waiting at the door

Ryosuke: ╭( ・ㅂ・)و ̑̑

Ryosuke: I’ll be there in twenty minutes!


Elliot was true to her word waiting beside the door when she heard a soft knock on it, Ryosuke clearly trying to be quiet to not disturb her neighbors. She immediately opened the door to see Ryosuke standing there, his happy face changing almost instantly, “Elliot!” he hissed, his expression stern, “You didn’t even look to see who was out here before you opened your door!”

“I…wait…” Elliot opened the door all the way, shaking her head, “Ryosuke, I live in a really safe building, plus, I’ve managed to stay alive all of these years witho—”

Her words faded off when her gaze landed back on him, his expression serious, but his eyes held something else, fixated on her legs, and she realized that the only thing she had on was her over-sized t-shirt, “Ah….I’m sorry, let me go put my robe on,” she murmured struggling with the need to cover herself up.

“No,” he stepped into her, his arms wrapping around her, pulling her to him as he hugged her, “I’m not staying, I just wanted to see you, to touch you for a moment—it feels like years since I’ve been here with you. I just really needed this.”

His body shook as he took a deep breath, and she drew her arms up around him, holding him tightly, her fingers spanning across the muscles in his back, and she frowned, worried about the tension she felt there, worried about how serious he felt, whispering in his ear, “Hey…are you okay?”

“I am now,” he murmured, sighing as he squeezed her softly.

“You don’t tell me the truth, do you?”

He hummed, pulling back, his nose nearly touching hers, “Truth about what? I tell you everything,” he smiled, shaking his head, “A fact I am positive will eventually give you enough information to ruin me.”

She couldn’t smile even though he was suddenly being playful, because as she looked at him, she saw it, the things others probably didn’t see—the fine lines of strain, the way his eyes weren’t lit up, the way his jaw held tension.

“Touring is very hard for you, that’s what you don’t tell me the truth about.”

His eyes closed and then when they opened they drifted past her face to the room behind her, “I…It’s not that I lie to you, Elliot.”

“You don’t tell me though, I can tell that now, and I understand why you don’t…”

His eyes snapped to hers and before he could ask her what she meant she spoke quickly, “You are afraid if you complain or show that this is hard for you then I will be overwhelmed—so you hide the hard parts from me, only sharing the happy bits and pieces—new discoveries in cities where you travel, scenic views, game rooms, and swimming—fun things, happy things—my phone is full of messages and pictures…”

She shifted, drawing her hands up between them, holding his cheeks, “But…Ryosuke, I see the truth right here on your face, others are blind to not see it for themselves—this is hard. I suspected it, but now I know…you should have told me the truth.”

“I was afraid to talk about the downside,” he nodded his head, the admittance a step forward, they both knew it, and she could tell he was internally chastising himself.

She squeezed his face, making him look into her eyes, “Hey! None of that, Mister! I just want to know, not just the happy things—I want to know ALL the things. That’s what a relationship is…isn’t it?”

He stared at her, then nodded, “It is.”

“When I told you I was in, I meant all in, Ryosuke, you don’t have to worry or hide the truth from me. I’m not going anywhere.”

He took a shuddering breath, his fingers clenching on her waist, “You promise?”

“I promise,” she smiled, tilting his head down to kiss his forehead softly, then pulling him into a hug, “I’m in this with you, I don’t want a fake relationship. I want a real one, a genuine one. I want that with you—so no more pseudo protecting me from your reality.”

“Okay,” he whispered, squeezing her tightly, and she smiled as she felt his entire body relax into her, finally, for the very first time.


Ryosuke:  ┐(´д`)┌It’s so hot in here, I think I’m melting Elliot

Elliot: What are you doing?

Ryosuke: Shooting a video and the studio is so hot!

Elliot: It’s not too warm outside though?

Ryosuke: I know, I can’t explain it, but the entire warehouse we’re shooting in feels like it’s the inner circle of hell kind of hot….ack…gotta go, Chii-chan wants to say hi

Ryosuke: Hey Elliot! ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ

Elliot: Hey Chinen-san ( ゚▽゚)/

Ryosuke: Call me Yuri for goodness sakes, I’m practically family!

Elliot: Okay, hey Yuri lol (=^▽^=)

Ryosuke: How are you? Are you at work? (^・ェ・^) Seen any exotic animals lately?

Elliot: Nope, I’m off today! I’m still in my pajamas!

Elliot:  ⌒°(ᴖ◡ᴖ)°⌒

Ryosuke: I’m shocked. It’s nearly ten!

Elliot: I know, I’m so lazy today!

Ryosuke: That’s not what I hear from Yama-chan–he says you work too hard all the time.

Elliot: I love my job so it hardly feels like work to be honest

Ryosuke: I can understand that

Ryosuke: Look at your boyfriend, he’s such an idiot, I have no idea what you see in him

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Elliot: lol  ◦°˚\(*❛‿❛)/˚°◦ he’s perfect 

Ryosuke: Is he? Is that true? ( ̄~ ̄) I don’t think so, I should tell you some stories!

Elliot: Oh, do tell!

Ryosuke: He’ll kill me, better to not leave a trace of my betrayal on his cell phone records…I’ll get to that later!

Ryosuke: Here:

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Ryosuke: He knows I’m filming and sending this to you, I think he’s flirting with you Elliot lol–I think he LIKES that you like it haha

Elliot: I do like it lol a lot!

Elliot: I saw a flying squirrel by the way

Ryosuke: w(°o°)w ᵒᵐᵍᵎᵎᵎ  Did you take pictures?

Elliot: Ah…no?

Ryosuke: Then it didn’t happen. Next time I’ll need definitive proof.

Elliot: OMG ヘ(。□°)ヘ You’re impossible

Ryosuke: I’m not impossible ( ̄へ ̄) I’m a skeptic

Elliot: Whatever

Elliot: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Ryosuke: 

image
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Ryosuke: Ah, he’s done, gotta go! My turn!! Seriously, pictures Elliot, don’t let me down! I share with you, you need to share with me!

Ryosuke: In fact, pictures of Saya would be the best! 

Ryosuke: PLEASE ELLIOT I’M BEGGING YOU!

Ryosuke: o(^▽^)o

Elliot: Okay, okay! PICTURES! Sheesh!


Four hours later:


Ryosuke: We’re done! Sorry I couldn’t write, everything picked up really fast, but I thought I would show you the videos we took! The staff shared their videos with us as well!

Elliot: Yes, please!!!

Elliot: (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧

Ryosuke: Okay! ~(^◇^)/

Ryosuke: First we practiced, running through the dance a few times:

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Elliot: That’s looks amazing! How long does it take you guys to learn something like that?

Ryosuke: Oh, just a handful of hours at the most

Elliot: That’s insane. (۶* ‘ꆚ’)۶” You do know that right? Normal people couldn’t learn a dance like that in such a short time!

Ryosuke: Well, (p^-^)p we’ve been dancing since we were children–it’s like we know all of the moves and stuff, all we’re doing it putting them in new orders all the time

Elliot: I guess, still don’t sell yourself short–that’s amazing, and it looks fantastic

Ryosuke: hahahaha ( ՞ਊ՞) the song is called “Fantastic Time” lol

Elliot: OMG (ノ^∇^) that’s hysterical

Ryosuke: Then the real shoot:

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Elliot: ….I can’t say what I want to say

Ryosuke: Why not?

Elliot: Too embarrassing lol just imagine…

Ryosuke: Hmmm…

Ryosuke: (๑¯ਊ¯)σ л̵ʱªʱªʱª omg Elliot haha shame on you!

Elliot: lol (´∀`)♡ it’s not my fault you’re you is it?

Ryosuke:  (^▽^)♡

Ryosuke: And then we get a break but again…the inner circle of hell, remember?

Elliot: I remember

Ryosuke: So, first of all, if the guys try to tell you that I am ‘diva’ on set, please don’t listen to them. People WANT to do things for me, okay? They LIKE to take care of me, I can’t explain why they bring me glasses of soda with ice when everyone else is given lukewarm water bottles….I don’t know why! I didn’t ask for it.

Ryosuke: Though, admittedly, I appreciated it!

Ryosuke: Chii-chan had my phone so he took these videos, first Keito gets his warm water bottle lol

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Ryosuke: Okay, okay, I know…these videos might make it look like I’m bragging about that glass of soda but I wasn’t, I just really enjoyed it that’s all lol

Ryosuke: ( ̄ω ̄)

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Ryosuke: I mean, okay lol maybe I was exaggerating a little bit..

Elliot: OMG \(>o<)ノ  you’re such a brat! I can’t believe they don’t want to kill you lol

Ryosuke: It’s because I’m too cute, (´∀`)♡ it endears me to them no matter what I do lol

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Elliot: Well, (♡ ὅ ◡ ὅ )ʃ♡ you are cute, that’s true but you’re still horrible lol

Ryosuke: Well, I honestly didn’t ask for it but the best part was eating the ice cubes because at least it cooled me off a little bit

Ryosuke: Poor Inoo-chan with his warm water bottle…

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Ryosuke: I shared my ice with him–see, I’m nice, I’m good, I’m not a diva at all not a brat at all see!

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Ryosuke: Hikaru got my phone. Sorry.

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Elliot: Oh my gosh ヘ(。□°)ヘ lol

Ryosuke: I know, I know, he’s hideous! 

Elliot: It’s too funny! It looks like you guys have a lot of fun while you’re working! That makes me happy

Elliot:  o(^∀^*)o

Ryosuke: We do have a good time! They’re family, we’re stupid together, I hope you know what you’re getting yourself into lol

Elliot: I know and am ready! 

Elliot: (ノ^ヮ^)ノ*:・゚✧Bring it on!!!

Ryosuke:  (Ɔ ˘⌣˘)♥(˘⌣˘ C) I’m so glad you’re you!


October


Saya: 〈(゜。゜) Are you coming to the thing tomorrow?

Yuri: (´−`) ンー Are you going to be there?

Saya: Of course!

Yuri: YEP! (((o(*゚▽゚*)o))) I’ll be there!

Saya: (p^-^)pYou’re so dumb

Yuri: You love it and you know it

Saya: Whatever

Yuri: Saya?

Saya: YES YURI YES

Yuri: You didn’t even let me ask

Saya: You’ve asked me three hundred times, and I said yes over a week ago!

Yuri: I just want to make sure…keep you from changing your mind

Saya: o(^∀^*)oI’m not changing my mind

Yuri: because I’m taking you to Disney

Saya: Yep! I am, after all, the kind of girl who only cares about what she can get from the guy she’s going on a date with—if you weren’t rich and famous I wouldn’t even consider going out with you, especially if you didn’t include Disney in the scenario

Yuri: Well, o(^◇^)o it’s really good that I’m rich and famous then

Saya: Exactly

Yuri: I’ll see you tomorrow, cutie

Yuri: ⊂(♡⌂♡)⊃

Saya: See you then!

Saya: \(^o^)/

Yuri: ( ˘ ³˘)♥


Ryosuke: (-_-) zzz Go to sleep

Elliot: (-, – )…zzzZZZYou go to sleep

Ryosuke: Lol I am going to sleep, that’s why we’re saying goodnight!

Elliot: Fine

Ryosuke: Be safe working on your park tomorrow

Elliot: I will

Ryosuke: Early start?

Elliot: Hmm?

Ryosuke: Are you getting an early start?

Elliot: I’d like to say I will sleep in, but it’s unlikely, I feel like I’ll end up over there around 9 or so and work until it gets dark

Ryosuke: Well, have a good day!

Elliot: I will!

Ryosuke:  ( ๑ ᴖ ᴈ ᴖ)ᴖ ᴑ ᴖ๑)

Elliot: (◦˘ З(◦’ںˉ◦)♡


Elliot had awoken earlier than she’d planned, her system so used to the normal schedule that it rebelled against her wishes to sleep in on her off time. It was just as well, since she really wanted to get into the park and get started. She figured if she got there by nine she could stay until at least five or six before it got too dark to continue. She dressed in her old blue jeans, probably in the perfect condition that other people payed hundreds of dollars for with the wear and such on them, and a long sleeved knit black shirt, carrying a jacket with her in case the wind became too chilly.

She made her way to the park, bag in hand with the tools she’d managed to gather over time for her work there. She turned the corner on the street where the park was located, not paying much attention to anything until she heard her name called out. She looked up, squinting against the morning sun, to what appeared a crowd of people by the park gates, with Saya waving her arm in the air, calling out, “Good morning, Boss!”

Elliot tried to make out who the people were, not recognizing most of them, and was completely shocked to see Ryosuke there, and even more surprised to see Yuri standing beside Saya, along with two of the other techs from work and a bunch of people she didn’t know.

When she finally made it there, her eyes grew wide, taking in the wagons lined up along the sidewalk filled with tools, and flowers, and all sorts of pine bark and bags full of things she didn’t know how to pronounce, and she just didn’t understand, gesturing toward them all, “What…what’s happening here?”

“We’re here to help!” Saya spoke brightly, then gesturing to Ryosuke who was standing beside her, “It was his idea, he said you were having a work day today and thought it would be great if we all pitched in to help you.”

Elliot’s eyes scanned the group of people, realizing that the group included the rest of Ryosuke’s group members, plus what had to be a handful of Juniors, and a few other people from the clinic she hadn’t realized were there before.

She didn’t mean to, but she couldn’t stop it when her eyes swelled up with tears, and before she could even take a breath, Ryosuke had stepped toward her, embracing her and shuffling her backward, plucking the keys out of her pocket and giving them to Saya before he turned back around, moving Elliot away from the crowd as they all started moving the wagons in through the park now that the gate was unlocked.

Ryosuke blocked the others from seeing her, his hands resting on her upper arms, “It’s okay, Elliot.”

She was shaking and then she couldn’t help it, a broken sob escaped and she laughed at how stupid she was, crying harder as he pulled her into his arms, encircling her gently, whispering softly in her ear, “I know, I understand.”

He really did understand, he wasn’t the kind of person to ask for help either, and certainly he wasn’t the type to expect it. He was also used to making his own way in the world, but being in Jump had taught him a valuable lesson about that—and now he figured it was high time that Elliot learned the same lesson. People are there in your life, willing to help, because they want to—because that is an external expression of internal feelings.

She sniffled, and then drew back, looking up at his eyes which were soft with warmth, her voice shaky from her tears, “I never expected…I am just so…”

He smiled, leaning forward as his hand moved to hold the back of her head, kissing her softly on the forehead before he ducked down to catch her gaze, “Elliot, it’s okay, everyone wants to be here and help you. I wasn’t even going to ask the guys to come but when they heard what I was planning they all insisted on coming, and from there it kinda of grew. We want to help get your park back in order again.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, springing forward to wrap her arms around him tightly, and he laughed lifting her feet off the ground as his arms wrapped around her waist and held her there for a moment, closing his eyes and inhaling the strawberry scent of her hair.

Elliot’s eyes opened as he sat her down, smiling, “I am so glad to see you,” her hands moved to hold his cheeks, her eyes sweeping across his face, nodding, “You’re feeling much better!”

“I am, thanks to this amazing girl who has completely stolen my heart,” he mused, his fingertips moving slowly on her hips.

“Hmm,” Elliot twisted her face as if in deep thought, “She sounds like a keeper! You’ll have to introduce us!”

“She’s definitely a keeper,” he laughed lightly, pulling her to him as he kissed her cheek, enveloping her in his arms again. She peeked her eyes open to see Saya and Yuri standing at the gate watching them without trying to appear like they were watching and she couldn’t help but laugh.

She took a big breath, then looked back at Ryosuke, “I guess we should get started then.”

“Yep!” He reached down to take her hand and they walked back to the gate together, Saya’s eyes alight with joy as she took in Elliot, and Yuri seemed to be much the same, a wide smile on his face as he bounced on the balls of his feet.

“You’d better start giving those guys instructions,” Saya laughed as she spoke, gesturing into the park, “They’re getting restless!”

Elliot nodded, and the four of them entered the park, closing the gates, and then Elliot turned and waved bashfully at everyone, and of course, that instantly inspired a round of exclamations and sounds like ‘awwww’ and such as all the Johnny’s mused about how cute and adorable she was—which of course, made her blush and get even more embarrassed, which prompted another round of laughter as she ducked her head, covering her face.

They quieted down when Ryosuke stepped up next to Elliot, his hand on the middle of her back, silencing them with a single word, “Guys.”

“I just wanted to say, thank you, and I appreciate you all coming here to help! There’s plenty of work to do, so if you divide up into smaller groups I can tell you some of what needs to be done.”

And just like that Elliot stepped into her “professional” mode, no more the shy, embarrassed little girl, but the confident, self-assured woman who knew what needed to be done, and knew the exact steps to make it happen.

Once all the groups had been dispersed throughout the park with different tasks, Elliot glanced over at Ryosuke who had leaned against the gate with his arms crossed, sporting an amused smile, her eyes narrowing, “What?”

He laughed, moving over toward her to pick up the handle to the wagon their materials had been piled in, “You and I are not that different.”

“Hmm?” she gestured the direction they were going to work in, and he fell into step beside her, the wagon making scratching sounds as it rolled down the cobblestone path.

“You have at least two faces,” he mused, glancing over to her, “I have quite a few. I wonder if you have more than two?”

“I don’t know what you mean?”

“Well,” he tilted his head, “I’ll use myself as an example. I have multiple personas if you will. Different masks I put on for different purposes—and generally, I can change one out for another almost seamlessly. There’s of course the Idol—self-assured, confident, princely aura, and brave—he never gets worried or embarrassed—he’s above all that. Then there’s the family member, who I am with my family—my parents and sisters and all of that. Different faces for different people. You know?”

“I see what you mean,” she nodded, twisting her face as she considered his words carefully, “I suppose I do have who I am in general and then who I am in ‘work’ mode—does that count?”

“Yep!” he smiled, nodding, “Though, you’re a complex person, I think there’s more than two, in fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen at least four already.”

“Four!” Elliot shook her head, “I’m not that complicated!”

“Then is the person who cried outside the gate the ‘normal’, or the ‘work’ you?”

Elliot didn’t answer right away, because she realized he did have a point, that wasn’t her normal response to things, and it certainly wasn’t her in her work form, so maybe he was right, “I guess, it really wasn’t either of those…but I don’t know what it was then.”

“The little girl, the soft vulnerable part of you that your Mom has pushed so far down inside of you that you hardly know her,” he mused, reaching over to take her hand with the one that wasn’t pulling the wagon, “The part of you that always believed fairy tales are real, that love at first sight was possible, that magical things happen everywhere, that dreams can come true, and ‘happily ever after’ still exists even in a world as dark as ours.”

These words spoke straight to her soul, and she stopped walking, her eyes wide and her mouth opening and closing with unspoken words, and Ryosuke dropped the handle of the wagon, turning toward her to hold her face in his hands, “It’s alright, Elliot, I have a little boy in me but he’s not nearly as cute as your girl—he’s a very petulant child! I just think maybe you should listen to your little girl a bit more, I think.”

“I’ll try.”

I’ll try.


October 26th

Fantastic Time Release Day


Ryosuke was sitting on the floor in the rehearsal room, waiting for the others to show up, resting his back against the mirrored wall. Glancing down at his phone to check the time, realizing he’d missed a message from Elliot, he clicked on the envelope to read it.

Elliot: So…anything exciting happening there?

Ryosuke: Ah…waiting for the other guys to show up–not exactly exciting lol

Elliot: Awwhh! I hope that you have a good day!

Ryosuke: We’re doing brush up rehearsals, but it should be fairly relaxed

He glanced up when Daiki and Yuri walked in, their laughter echoing off the wall, then speaking quietly as they approached where Ryosuke was sitting. Ryosuke took in the way Yuri was avoiding eye contact, a sure sign he was up to no good. Daiki was standing with his back turned away from him, also raising suspicions.

“What are you two doing?”

“Nothing…” Yuri turned, looked at him with a painted on innocent look that made Ryosuke even more paranoid.

“Well, now I know you’re definitely up to something, you are a terrible liar,” Ryosuke laughed, standing up and putting his phone in his pocket, “What’s happening?”

“Nothing,” Daiki spoke firmly, shrugging, “Like he said, nothing at all?”

“Uh-huh,” Ryosuke rolled his eyes, prepared to badger them into telling him what they were up to, but was distracted when there was a noise at the doorway, glancing up to see a group of people coming into the rehearsal room with bundles of multicolored balloons.

“What the…”

One of the delivery people glanced over to them, then asked loudly, “Yamada Ryosuke?”

“That’s me,” Ryosuke responded, confused, as he made his way over to the delivery people crowded into the entry way–the entire front wall covered in bundles of balloons.

“This is for you,” the delivery man held out a large basket, that had a bundle of red balloons attached to it. 

“What…what in the world?” He took the basket out of the man’s hand, eyes wide as he took in the treats sitting inside of it, wrapped in clear cellophane, then looking at the other delivery people.

“Is it okay for us to just set these over here?” The delivery man gestured to the wall, and then Ryosuke realized that each bundle of balloons matched the members colors and he was even more curious.

“Of course,” he nodded, turning to see Yuri and Daiki moving toward him, smiles on their faces.

The delivery people set the baskets down and left quickly, and before Ryosuke could say anything, Yuri was squealing as he rushed over to the basket that had the bundle of pink balloons on it. Daiki shoved Ryosuke as he passed him, whispering, “I can’t believe you found this girl,” as he moved to pick up the basket with orange balloons attached.

“What is going on here?” Ryosuke’s voice was exasperated, clearly out of the loop, and the other two boys just laughed.

“Open the basket, then you’ll know!” Yuri mused, having sat down in front of his basket and was quickly opening the wrapping.

Ryosuke carried the basket over to the table in the corner, setting it down and studying it, realizing there was a card contained within. He pulled at the bow to make the wrapping drop down, his mouth watering as the smell of the chocolate covered strawberries arranged in a heart pattern on a glass plate hit him.

There were other treats, and even some gift cards to his favorite restaurants…and then he picked up the card that was tucked along the back edge, his name printed there. He opened it quickly, finding a notecard with kittens on it, and his heart began to beat faster, his mind running directly to the idea that this was something Elliot had done.

But she doesn’t even know where I work or anything…

He dismissed the idea, opening the card and then his breath caught in his throat, his eyes moving directly to the bottom of the card to find her name signed there with a little pawprint marking the ‘i” in her name.


Dearest Ryosuke,

Congratulations on the release of your newest single! I wondered if you celebrated things like this or if it was just business as usual, and then I realized I didn’t care either way–I wanted to tell you that I was proud of you and think you’re positively amazing!

I am going to be at the music store first thing today to get my copies and I can’t wait to listen to it, to listen to you! (and the others too, of course!) I think you’re wonderful–because you are so kind, so thoughtful, so generous, so sweet, and so very loving (and lovable!)–and then of course, there’s that thing about your voice and talent and all of that, but it’s certainly secondary to who you really are.

Thank you for letting me see you as truly yourself, and giving me the freedom and often the courage to be who I really am. I look forward to discovering even more about ourselves as we grow together!

Yours forever,

Elliot


“How in the world…” Ryosuke glanced over looking at Yuri who was digging through his basket, popping something into his mouth.

“Oy!” he called out, “You!” Yuri turning quickly to look at him, Ryosuke demanding, “Spill it!”

Yuri talked with his mouth full, “I just told her where you’d be and how to send the delivery person!”

Ryosuke understood then, laughing when Yuri quickly swallowed the treat he’d eaten, then raised his arms and gestured around at all of the balloons, “I didn’t know she was sending them to all of us though, I thought it was just you.”

He looked to the side to find Daiki looking at his basket, then glancing up at him, and then to Yuri, his voice petulant, “Well, Ryosuke’s is still huge compared to ours!”

Yuri nearly choked on the strawberry he’d just popped into his mouth, laughing as he watched Ryosuke turn to look at Daiki, his eyebrow raised, his expression marked with amusement, his hand patting him softly on the back as he leaned in to whisper, “That’s what she said.”


Ryosuke: I can’t believe you did this, the guys are beside themselves with excitement and now I think I will have to fight them all off to keep them away from you lol they think there’s not another girl in the world like you–and I have to agree with them wholeheartedly!

Elliot: Happy release day! You have nothing to worry about, I only have eyes for you!

Ryosuke: I’m glad!

Elliot:(●´∀`)ノ♡

Ryosuke: Thank you, it meant more to me than I could express…no one has really ever…hmmm…I guess cared about things like that. It was nice to have a moment to reflect on the accomplishment.

Elliot: You’re welcome, it made me really happy to do something for all of you!

Ryosuke: Ƭ ɧ ձ ƞ Ƙ ʂ (◦˘ З(◦’ںˉ◦) Ȼ ɧ ư ♡ 

Elliot:  ♡(◦˘ З(◦’ںˉ◦)cнϋ♡


November


The next few weeks were a blur for both of them, as they each were super busy with work and other obligations, but they kept in touch as often as they could, sending messages throughout the day—as Elliot had begun to keep her phone with her…and phone calls when they could manage it.

Elliot: What’s your favorite food? You already know mine!

Ryosuke: Strawberries

Elliot: That’s dessert? I mean like food you eat for dinner…

Ryosuke: Strawberries

Elliot: ah… (`_´)ゞ

Ryosuke: They should be their own food group. I’m petitioning the health department to recognize it.

Elliot: Uh-huh


Ryosuke:  Favorite movie?

Elliot: I’m not telling you, you’ll think I’m weird.

Ryosuke: What do you mean? I promise I won’t think you’re weird!

Elliot: Seriously, I mean….it’s just not a traditional ‘favorite film’ for girls, they all like stories like “Love Note” and things like that

Ryosuke: Spill it Meadows!

Elliot: Star Wars (my second favorite is Ever After, so there’s that)

Ryosuke: ☆~~ヾ(>▽<)ノ。・☆

Ryosuke: Marry me.

Ryosuke:  ♡。゚.(*♡´◡` 人´◡` ♡*)゚♡ °・

Elliot: Nope, you’ll have to ask me later lol


Ryosuke:  so anyway, we’re going to be playing soccer at the fields by my house if you want to join my team I’ll see to it that the Captain gives you a good position

Elliot: (⊙.☉)7 You’re the Captain aren’t you

Ryosuke: ੧(❛〜❛)੭ Maybe

Elliot: I am a danger to myself and others when attempting sports. I will come and watch you on the sidelines though, sit in the bleacher and make a sign with your name on it, bring pompoms, all that

Ryosuke: ((((;゜Д゜))) Do you own pompoms?

Elliot: No comment….how’s the weather?

Ryosuke: Wait, wait, no…nu-uh! You were a cheerleader?

Elliot: Shut up, I was fifteen and trying to figure out who I was

Ryosuke: ( ꒪Д꒪)ノPlease tell me there are pictures of this

Elliot: note to self: destroy all evidence

Ryosuke: (((o(*゚▽゚*)o)))You better bring those pompoms cheer girl—I’ll be expecting to hear my name louder than everyone else’s since you’re a professional and all that!

Elliot: (;¬_¬) I hate you

Ryosuke: Liar—(´∀`)♡ you love me.

Elliot: へ‿(ツ)‿ㄏ A little bit, like it’s so small, it’s practically insignificant

Ryosuke: ヽ(゚Д゚)ノ Your nose is going to grow with all the lying you’re doing tonight. Your mother would be appalled.

Elliot: My mother would be appalled period.

Ryosuke: Yep, I have to meet her soon…

Elliot: (((╹д╹;))) No can do.

Ryosuke: You can’t hide me from your mother forever Elliot

Elliot: ( ゚▽゚)/ I can

Ryosuke:  (๑¯ਊ¯)σ л̵ʱªʱªʱª Grandchildren will be a real surprise for her then

Elliot: Pfft, ┐( ˘_˘)┌ she wouldn’t even notice

Ryosuke: You should give your Mom a chance to make a good decision here

Elliot: Okay

Ryosuke: (;¬_¬)

Ryosuke: Really?

Elliot: No.

Ryosuke: 。゜(`Д´)゜。

Ryosuke: Well, I’m going to talk to my family about a dinner with you eventually

Elliot: ₍₍ ◝(●˙꒳˙●)◜ ₎₎ YAY!

Ryosuke: and then…

Elliot: And then?

Ryosuke: We’re telling your parents

Elliot: <(`^´)>

Ryosuke: ٩(๑•◡-๑)۶ⒽⓤⒼ


 December


Elliot: My heart is hurting—I had to put down a dog a few minutes ago.

Ryosuke: I’m so sorry, sweetheart, are you okay?

Elliot: no, I’m hiding in the exam room so I can cry, and all I could think was that I needed to talk to you

Ryosuke: Do you have any patients to see now?

Elliot: Not for about twenty minutes

Elliot jumped when her phone began to ring, answering it quickly with a sniffle, “H-hello?”

“Awwwhhh, hey Precious,” his voice was like a balm to her soul as he spoke into her heart, “Listen, you need to go to the back and get you some hot cocoa—and then have Saya take over for a little while so you can clear your head, go pet the kittens, take some time,” his voice was laced with concern, and Elliot took a shuddering breath trying to gather herself to speak, but he whispered, “Hey, it’s okay to hurt, it’s okay. I’m here, I wish I were actually there with you though.”

Elliot nodded her head, and then realized he couldn’t see her, “Me too.”

“My heart is,” she could hear the smile in his voice as he made a whisping, fluttering, whooshing sound, and she caught on, a laugh bubbling up as he spoke, “I’m sending it over, you’d better catch it”

She reached up into the air, grabbing his pretend heart, though to her, for that moment it felt like she’d really grabbed onto a piece of him.

“Did you get it?”

“Yes,” she smiled, wiping the tears from her eyes, “I got it, thank you.”

His voice was so soft, so gentle, and her knees felt weak when he spoke again, “Keep it for now, it was already yours.”


Elliot jumped when someone knocked on her door, looking to Sassy who wasn’t acting all that worried given the fact that she normally lost her mind when people visited, even if she knew them. She glanced at the clock realizing it was super late, but was concerned maybe something was happening with her neighbors or something, peeking out through the peep-hole and then excitedly pulling the door open to find Ryosuke standing there, his smile brilliant.

“Oh my God!” Elliot smiled, laughing softly, as she jumped forward to grab him into her arms, “I didn’t think I’d see you until next week, at the earliest!”

“I just got home, and…” he stepped into her, his arms wrapping around her, pulling her to him as he hugged her, humming softly as he buried his face in her hair, “thank you!”

She held onto him, squeezing him gently, laughing lightly, “For what?”

“For looking before you opened the door,” he laughed as he said it, making light of it but the intensity of his hug spoke of something else to her.

“I only do it because it makes you happy,” she admitted, “I honestly don’t think there’s anything to be worried about.”

“Keeping you safe, that makes me happy,” he smiled, pulling back to look at her face, kissing her nose quickly before he spoke, “I’m not staying, I can’t—I’m sorry, I have a flight to catch in three hours—but I just needed to see you for a moment to make sure you were okay after today.”

She started to say something, but he’d backed up just a little bit away from her and looked her over, laughing lightly as he shook his head, kissing her cheek softly, “Stop that!”

“What?” she wondered, eyes wide open.

“Being so cute,” his fingers gripped her waist as gestured with his head up and down at her pink footie pajamas, “Everytime I think you can’t possibly be any more adorable, you find a way to prove me wrong.”

She blushed at his tone, and leaned forward to draw him back to her, his arms held her so tightly it was hard to take a full breath, and he groaned, his voice sad, “I really do have to leave—just…tell me you’re alright.”

He moved back so he could see her face, and she nodded, trying to be reassuring, “I’m good now, I did what you said, and had my cocoa…and this gorgeous guy showed up and hugged me so…”

He laughed, “A gorgeous guy, huh? I don’t know how I feel about you have visitors like that at your door when you’re looking as beautiful as you are,” he mused softly, making her blush again, his fingertips tightening on her waist for a moment before he released her, and then bent down to pick up a small bag off the floor, “I brought you this. I have other gifts from the tour stops but they are stuck in my luggage, but I got this after our call today.”

She knew it wasn’t normal to be so excited over a small bag, but for some reason she couldn’t contain her enthusiasm and was pleased when he laughed with her. She pulled out a mug that read “Please Do Not Confuse Your Google Search With My Veterinary Degree” along with a bag of gourmet hot cocoa.

She laughed, leaning forward to kiss his cheek quickly, “Thank you!”

“That is supposed to be one of the best cocoas, I mean I don’t know anything about them, of course, but the sales lady seemed to be knowledgeable, and I just…” She had to grin at how adorable his rambling nervousness was, leaning forward to kiss his other cheek as well.

“It will be perfect, it’s just perfect,” she smiled, as she grabbed him to pull him into another hug, and for a moment it seemed like time stood still. His hands so soft and warm on her back, and his breath gentle on her cheek, and the words were so light, so small it would have been easy to think it was merely her imagination, “You’re perfect.”


December 12th
Episode 9: Cain & Abel


Elliot: (゚´Д`゚)゚ I hate you

Ryosuke: Did you cry?

Elliot: Shut up

Ryosuke: I already know you did lol

Elliot: Yes.

Ryosuke: (っ˘з(˘⌣˘ )

Elliot: (人 •͈ᴗ•͈)

Ryosuke: (ღ′◡‵)

Elliot: Is the next episode the one with the…

Ryosuke: Yes, but you don’t have to watch it

Elliot: Don’t be dumb, I’m watching it, I have to know the ending

Ryosuke: Okay, but…it’s just acting

Elliot: OMG I know, don’t be stupid

Ryosuke: Just reminding you–I’m paranoid

Elliot: That’s all it is, paranoia, there’s no truth in being worried about it

Ryosuke: ( ´△`) Okay…


December 14th

Give Me Love Release Day


Ryosuke: Elliot. Where in the world did you find a stuffed teddy bear that is as tall as I am, and how in the world did you get it dressed into one of my concert outfits?

Elliot: (((o(*゚▽゚*)o))) HAPPY RELEASE DAY!

Ryosuke: lol thank you, I love it…I have no idea how you did this, but thank you, the guys like their gifts too

Elliot: YAY! o((*^▽^*))o

Ryosuke: You spoil me (‘∀’●)♡ …you spoil all of us

Elliot: It’s not spoiling someone if they deserve it

Ryosuke: (*’∀’人)♥

Elliot: (●´∀`)ノ♡


Ryosuke: It was a really long day, I’m so tired

Elliot: If I were there I’d rub your neck, I know you hold a lot of tension there.

Ryosuke: If you were here I probably wouldn’t want to sleep

Elliot: lol you’re too much, go to sleep

Ryosuke: Hey…can I call?

Elliot: Sure?

“Hey,” he whispered, clearly exhausted, his voice hoarse and tired, his system fading off to sleep, so Elliot was careful to keep her voice low when she responded, “Hey there.”

“J-just wanted to hear your voice before I fell asleep.”

Elliot wanted to squeal, instead, she curled her toes and squeezed her eyes shut tightly, as his voice continued softly, “I really, really like you, Elliot.”

“I really, really like you too, Ryosuke,” she couldn’t help the stupid grin that spread across her face, “We’ll talk tomorrow, okay? You sleep now, have sweet dreams.”

“My dreams are always sweet because you’re in them,” he murmured, his voice groggy, “G’night.”

“Goodnight.”


December 19
Episode 10: Cain & Abel


Ryosuke: And….

Elliot: I loved it, it was a perfect ending! I was always rooting for her!

Ryosuke: Sure, okay, and…?

Elliot: I didn’t like it

Ryosuke: 。・゚゚・(>д<)・゚゚・。

Elliot: But it was still beautiful and sweet…I believed it, you are an amazing actor

Ryosuke: Are you upset?

Elliot: No? I didn’t like it, but it doesn’t upset me…I’ve seen that expression before in person, so I’m the lucky girl here

Ryosuke: I thought of you when I was filming the scene to be honest, it was the only way I could focus the right way

Elliot:  (*˘︶˘*).。.:*♡

Ryosuke: You’re okay then?

Elliot: Yes?

Ryosuke: Am I worrying too much?

Elliot: Yes…it’s just acting, I understand lol I have to know that these kinds of things are going to happen, you know?

Ryosuke: But you said you didn’t like it.

Elliot: Ahm…am I supposed to like you kissing another girl?

Ryosuke: Well, when you say it like that I guess not

Elliot: Okay lol then no, I don’t like it, yes I understand it’s just acting, and no I’m not upset, there’s nothing for me to worry about–you’re mine after all, aren’t you?

Ryosuke: Undeniably yours

Ryosuke: ♡。゚.(*♡´◡` 人´◡` ♡*)゚♡ °・

Elliot: Then there’s no place for worry or jealousy over make-believe

Ryosuke:  ☆*✲゚*。(((´♡‿♡`+)))。*゚✲*☆

Elliot: But…

Ryosuke: But?

Elliot: Well, I mean…just…nevermind

Ryosuke: No way! What is it? 

Elliot:  (‘-’*)It’s stupid

Ryosuke: I’m sure it’s not! You can tell me anything!

Elliot: Well…I mean, it was weird for me mostly because, you know…you and I….we haven’t….

Ryosuke: Ah…

Elliot: Do you….not want to?

Ryosuke: OMG (」゜ロ゜)」 Elliot, don’t be insane of course I do

Elliot: But…?

Ryosuke: I know this will sound really dumb…but…

Ryosuke: I don’t think it would be right to kiss you until I’ve actually taken you on a proper date, that’s all–trust me it has NOTHING to do with me not WANTING to, my God…I WANT to.

Elliot: LOL ヽ(>∇<)ノ Okay

Ryosuke: Like I really do lol I’m just…traditional that way I guess?

Elliot:  (ɔ ˘⌣˘)˘⌣˘ c)I love that about you!

Ryosuke:  (。◝‿◜。) You love everything about me

Elliot: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Maybe

Ryosuke: Oh I know the truth

Elliot: Uh-huh

Ryosuke: I love everything about you too

Elliot:  o(〃^▽^〃)o


December 31st, January 1st


Elliot was watching him on stage, the boys were all so adorable and she was amazed at the spectacle that Johnny’s put on for New Years. She knew that each time he hid behind one of the others he was messaging her, despite her telling him he should pay attention to the fans.

Ryosuke: (⌣_⌣”) Happy New Year….

Elliot: I can hear you pouting through the text

Ryosuke: I’m not

Elliot: (⊙_☉)

Ryosuke: Fine, but it’s my first year with a girl to kiss on New Years and I can’t even be with you at midnight

Elliot: Is this the right time to remind you that we haven’t actually kissed yet and I’m not fully convinced doing so for a New Years kiss is the right time?

Ryosuke: It’s not my fault we haven’t kissed yet.

Elliot:  (⊙.☉)7 Is that so?

Ryosuke: Yep! It’s because you work too much, I can’t take you on a date!

Elliot: Pfft. ⁀⊙﹏☉⁀ Says the guy who’s working right now with only three minutes before New Years! 

Ryosuke:  ヘ(。□°)ヘ

Ryosuke: Can you see me?

Elliot: I can!

Ryosuke: Are you really out there?

Elliot: I am

Ryosuke: What am I doing right now?

Elliot: Setting aside your paranoia that I’m sitting at home watching this on the television–you are giving Chinen bunny ears….and now he’s slapped you.

Ryosuke: haha I’m glad you’re here, even if I can’t see you, we’re together

Elliot: it counts, it does!

Ryosuke: Still see me?

Elliot squinted her eyes to see him and her eyes lit up when she saw him touch his heart and then gesture his hand into the air like it was floating away.

She quickly reached up and grabbed it, laughing at how silly they were together.

Elliot: I got it!

Ryosuke: Keep it, it’s already yours.

As the countdown ended, all of the crowd celebrating, her phone lit up.

Ryosuke: Happy New Years Elliot

Elliot: Happy New Years Ryosuke

Ryosuke:  (◦˘ З(◦’ںˉ◦) Ȼ ɧ ư ♡

Elliot:   (^_^ ;)ε ˉ◦ ) Ȼ ɧ ư ♡ 


Ryosuke: So, seriously, are we ever going to be able to go on a real date?

Elliot: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯Probably not

Ryosuke: What if we don’t go on a real date?

Elliot: 「(゚ペ) You lost me

Ryosuke: I’m coming home on Wednesday—I don’t go back to work until Tuesday—we can just…hang out? Like I feel like if we make some official plans everything will go all to hell like it always does, but if we just say we’re making plans to most certainly NOT make plans maybe we’ll outsmart the fate that seems to want to torture us

Elliot: You’re a smart man

Ryosuke: My brain is only one of the many facets of me you should be utterly captivated by—you should see my arm muscles

Ryosuke:  ᕙ( ツ )ᕗ

Elliot: is that so?

Ryosuke: Yes, they’re god-like—by the way…yes or no?

Elliot: Yes, let’s show that bitch fate that she’s got no power over us! Lol

Ryosuke: o(^∀^*)o YES!

Elliot: I’m supposed to go see my parents on Thursday, and I have to work on Friday, but am completely off on Saturday

Ryosuke: I can go meet your parents with you on Thursday!

Elliot: No way, I haven’t seen them in a few months, it’s a bad idea for me to do that now

Ryosuke:  You do know you have to tell them eventually, I mean I know we joked about it but…

Elliot: I will, I promise

Ryosuke: Okay, then Saturday you’re all mine!

Elliot: I am already all yours

Ryosuke: I know  (ɔ ˘⌣˘)˘⌣˘ c)

Elliot: Just checking!


Ryosuke: So, tell me something no one else knows

Elliot: No one else knows? Hmm…let me think…

Ryosuke: o(^▽^)o

Elliot: When I eat the kind of cereal that has marshmallows in it, I eat all the normal bits first, and leave all of the marshmallows for last

Ryosuke: That’s adorable

Elliot: I own Pooh Bear pajamas, they’ve got feet in them

Ryosuke: That’s adorable

Elliot: I love tomatoes so much I eat them by themselves

Ryosuke: We’re through


Ryosuke: Do you know that I just read online that I have apparently impregnated a girl who is suing me for paternity costs

Ryosuke: It’s immaculate conception…I told you my arm muscles were god-like—apparently other parts of my body are also god-like as well!

Elliot: I’m not even going to comment on that Ryosuke…I just…no

Ryosuke: ꉂ (๑¯ਊ¯)σ л̵ʱªʱªʱª

Elliot: Besides, I knew you were a cad from the start

Elliot: ( ´艸`)

Ryosuke: I just can’t seem to control my hormones, I’m sorry, I’m just too hot and sexy, especially the god-like parts of me

Ryosuke: ∠( ᐛ 」∠)_

Elliot: You sure are (꒪ཀ꒪) —I mean…wait…what were we talking about? Stop distracting me!

Ryosuke:  。゚(゚ ՞ਊ ՞  )゚。

Ryosuke: But you’re so cute when you’re flustered!

Elliot:  My mother warned me about boys like you

Ryosuke:  Hey, hold on, I happen to know she really did!

Elliot: Oops, sorry, reality slipped into our fantasy—my bad


Elliot rolled over in her sleep seeing that the light on her phone was blinking, indicating she had a text message. She rubbed her eyes, reaching over to grab the phone, and clicking the button to see who it was. Her heart sped up when she saw it was from Ryosuke, and she wondered how long it would be that she had that response about everything when it came to him.

I hope it never ends.

She couldn’t help it, she really loved the way it made her feel, and she hoped that so long as he was a part of her life, that she’d always have the excited, trembling response he could create in her just from seeing his name in print.

She realized there was more than one message, clicking to open the first one and laughing as she read it.

Ryosuke: I can’t sleep. I don’t know why, because I am so tired, and seriously, sleep isn’t something I usually struggle with–but my mind keeps whirling. I should get up and try to do something productive but that’s crazy at 3am right?

Ryosuke: I know you’re sleeping. I’m glad you are. I wish I was.

Ryosuke: Well, I don’t want to get up and do anything so I think I’ll just message you. Today was a long day, longer still because I was too busy to see you. I thought maybe I could get to your work before you left to at least walk you home, but I ended up tied up with some changes to tomorrow’s program. That said, FIVE days off after tomorrow! And in three days we’re going to have our first non-date ever.

Ryosuke: o((*^▽^*))o I can’t wait.

Ryosuke: Despite today being busy, I did think of you…probably more than I should have—you’re quite a distraction Dr. Meadows.

Ryosuke: I’m still thinking of you…to be honest…

image

Ryosuke: I wrote a bit of something for you actually. I wonder if I should share it? Maybe not yet.

Ryosuke: Forget I said anything.

Ryosuke: You heard nothing.

Ryosuke: I’m going to sleep.

Elliot smiled, checking the time and realizing he must have just sent the last message and maybe the light was what had made her wake up. She quickly typed out a message.

Elliot: Sleep sweet, I heard nothing.

Elliot:  ( ˘ ³˘)♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Ryosuke: Why are you awake!? Don’t you have work tomorrow?

Elliot: Ah, well, why are YOU awake, I know for a fact you have work tomorrow.

Ryosuke: (´・_・`) I couldn’t sleep.

Elliot: (´`;) ? I just woke up.

Ryosuke: I was thinking…about stuff.

Elliot: Wanna talk about it?

Ryosuke: Really?

Elliot: Sure?

Ryosuke: That’s…that’s just really different. To have someone who wants to hear me, like, I really think it’s…just…I don’t know what I’m trying to say here.

Elliot: I understand, I am glad you care about my life too, Ryosuke.

Ryosuke: Elliot, I really like you.

Elliot: I really like you too silly.

Ryosuke: I mean, I really really really like you. A whole lot.

Elliot: I really really really really super duper like you a whoooooollleeee lot too.

Ryosuke: Be my girlfriend?

Elliot: Okay!

Ryosuke: Marry me?

Elliot: Nope, you’ll have to ask me later lol

Ryosuke: Fine—I’ll ask again on Saturday!

Elliot: Go to sleep! You’re going to hate me tomorrow for keeping you awake

Ryosuke: Never.

Elliot: I’m not answering anymore, you’ll just stay up to talk to me. Go to sleep.

Elliot:  (^_^ ;)ε ˉ◦ ) Ȼ ɧ ư ♡

Ryosuke:   (◦˘ З(◦’ںˉ◦) Ȼ ɧ ư ♡ 


Since they both had a morning off they’d met at the coffee shop, then went for a walk in her park. Despite it being cold, she felt warm all over as he held her hand as they strolled to the fountain, turned off now due to winter, but still lovely just the same. The crisp air caused her breath to puff out in front of her in a mist, and she tucked her nose down into her scarf, glancing over at Ryosuke who was staring at her.

“I suppose we should have considered how cold this bench would be, huh?” he laughed, scooting over to grab her and pull her against him, “Though it does give me a good excuse to hold you close, doesn’t it?”

Elliot laughed softly, “You don’t need an excuse for that, do you?”

“No, I suppose I don’t,” he murmured, leaning over to kiss her temple before she laid her head against his chest, pushing into his thick scarf.

“I was wondering…”

Elliot hummed, pulling her head back to look at him, his eyes still focused on the fountain as he spoke, “Did you decide to listen to your little girl yet?”

Elliot wanted to say she had, but the truth was, it was very hard to do, she looked down at the ground, shaking her head gently.

“Ryosuke, I want to believe in those things, you make me want to believe in them,” she whispered, “but…it’s hard…I just…it’s hard, that’s all.”

She let him lift her chin, his eyes soft as he held her own, “Hey, I am the last person to tell you that you can’t be cautious or a cynic, you know? I see a lot of the realities in the world, but there are still some things I believe in.”

“I want to believe in them, too,” Elliot whispered, smiling when he leaned forward to kiss her red nose.

“I’ll make you believe in them,” he whispered, and for a moment she thought he was really going to kiss her, finally, right here in her favorite park, and she felt her entire body trembling at the very thought, but he didn’t, instead he shifted his arms, drawing her into his embrace, holding her and she rest her face on his chest, his heartbeat steady under her ear as she pressed into his thick coat, soft and smooth under her cheek as she closed her eyes, savoring this moment.

Yes, please, make me believe.


Elliot was lying in bed, her comforter pulled up to her chin, smiling as they had their normal bedtime conversation…

Elliot: So, yes, that was how my family decided to celebrate my birthday—it was so embarrassing!

Ryosuke: I wish I had been there to see that!

Elliot: OMG I am so glad you weren’t!

Ryosuke: I’ll be there next year! I put your birthday in my calendar so it will remind me!

Elliot: Great.

Ryosuke:  (๑¯ਊ¯)σ л̵ʱªʱªʱª


The next day was nothing short of a blur for Elliot as she had two surgeries that morning. She’d taken a hot shower and then put on fresh scrubs afterward, thankful that her schedule wasn’t very full for the afternoon.  She’d just had a text conversation with Ryosuke about how Chinen had created a list with baby names for when he and Saya have their first child—lamenting the fact that he didn’t know if he wanted a boy or a girl first.  

Saya’s in for it with that one!

She was sitting at her desk, feet propped up, reading one of her romance novels, hidden behind a historical book cover that featured a samurai warrior when her phone lit up from the front desk. She still hid what she was reading as a matter of habit, and she absently wondered if she’d ever stop doing that.

She reached over to answer the phone, “Dr. Meadows.”

“Dr. Meadows,” Miki’s voice seemed terse, her words clipped, aggravation clear in her tone, “There’s a situation in the front that you need to take care of, please.”

“I’ll be right there,” she dropped the phone back down, pushing herself off the desk and making her way down the corridor toward the door that led to the front waiting room. There was a blur of action to the side and she glanced around to find Saya and Mao banging into each other and slamming one another into the wall as they tore down the hallway toward her.

Quite used to their erratic behavior, she stepped forward into the alcove that led to the front, glancing down the other side of the hallway as they stumbled past her, watching as they bounded back toward her, nearly slamming into her, breathless, wild-eyed, and practically vibrating with excitement.

Elliot stared at them, then shrugged, eyebrow raised, “Do I want to know what you two hyper puppies are on about?”

“Yes!” they both exclaimed excitedly as Mao brushed past her to open the door and Saya grabbed her shoulders, turning her to push her out the doorway.

She started to protest, reaching to grab Saya’s hands but stopped abruptly at the sight awaiting her as she stepped into the front reception area.

“What…wh—wait, what is going on here?” Her eyes moved across the room filled with flowers, all held by different boys, her eyes darting to Miki who shook her head, shrugging before she sat back down and pointedly ignored everything that was happening.

“Dr. Meadows,” one of the boys stepped forward, a bundle of white roses held in a beautiful vase in his hands as he bowed to her, “We are here to deliver these flowers to you. Where should we put them?”

“Wh…where should you put…th..them?”

“In here is fine,” Saya spoke quickly, moving over to exam room 5 and opening the door, “We don’t have any patients scheduled for this room today.”

Elliot’s eyes were wide, while she watched the boys move across the space, walking into the exam room, and then coming back out empty handed. She jumped when Mao reached over and lifted her chin, her teeth snapping together as she tried to figure out what was happening.

One of the boys approached her, holding out an envelope, presenting it to her and just like that they all left, the door swinging closed as the last boy exited, and then Elliot stared at them as they all gathered, appearing to be very excited on the sidewalk in front of the clinic, laughing and goofing off.

Elliot was still dumbfounded.

She blinked, looking down at the envelope in her hand, turning it over to see her name printed in a beautiful handwriting she’d come to love with all her heart.

“Oh my God, what did he do?” she whispered softly, looking back up at the crowd of boys, which she realized now were all Juniors from Johnny’s, who were just turning the corner to go down her street in a large crowd.

“Open it!” Mao laughed when Elliot jumped, having been lost in her thoughts, forgetting where she was.

Elliot nodded, taking a deep breath, then moved over to Miki, leaning over the counter, “I’m sorry that your work was disrupted by this, Miki, I will ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

“Whatever,” Miki snapped, not even looking up.

Elliot looked over at Mao who just shrugged, and then pointed to the side where Saya was standing at the door to exam room 5 gesturing wildly for her to come to her. Elliot glanced around the waiting room nervously, glad to see that there were no patients waiting while this was happening.

When she stepped into the room, the other two girls following her in, closing the door, and to her it was as if she was walking into a sea of white roses—some in tall glass containers, others in short round ones, the many vases ornate and sparkling, some with hearts and other swirls and patterns on them. 

There wasn’t a bare spot anywhere in all of the area apart from the immediate area where she was standing by the door. Her hand grazed across the roses closest to her, the soft velvet gentle on her skin as she realized these were those same roses that he’d given her before, she’d know them anywhere—they were the most exquisite roses she’d ever seen—they had taken her breath away the first time she received them, but—this…this was more than breathtaking.

“Open it, please,” Saya couldn’t control her excitement as she tapped on the envelope, and Elliot nodded absently, moving to the corner to sit on the bench there, thankful that she could pause a moment, as she was feeling a little overwhelmed.

The girls moved through the flowers, pulling cards off each bundle, giving Elliot time to herself to open the envelope, trying to be mindful to her feelings. Elliot’s hands were shaking as she ripped the flap open, pulling out a card that seemed like as if it were handmade, her hand running across the red ink as she took in the design. Two fingerprints pressed together to form a heart, with the words “Fairy Tales Can Come True” printed underneath, and as she looked closer she knew it was certainly handmade as the writing was Ryosuke’s—the painted strokes very clear, very concise, but she could tell because he still made certain symbols in his own unique way despite the lettering being very formal on the card.

She smiled, her finger tracing the heart shape, realizing she was holding a treasure, as he’d undoubtedly used his own fingerprints to make the design. She slowly opened the card, her hand fluttering up to her chest as her breath caught when she read the words printed within.


My dearest Elliot,

Happy late birthday!

I met you the first time a few weeks before your birthday, but I didn’t even know it until you mentioned it last night.  I realized that I wanted, no, actually I needed to make sure you knew without a doubt how very grateful and fortunate I feel that you were born into this world.

I hope you enjoy these roses, there’s a dozen for every year you have graced this earth—one for every month you’ve been alive! Plus, each of these most certainly represents something I absolutely adore about you—292 of them to be exact, in case you need confirmation—oh, and before you go taking these roses to the rehab center, I have made arrangements for roses to be delivered there every month on the day of your birth, so each 14th there will be a gift from you of fresh roses for the staff to decorate the tables with and for the children to use in their crafts.

Yes, Chii-chan told me, and I am touched by your generosity, but please, for me, keep these until they are fading, and then I’ll help you make something beautiful out of them. Certainly, nothing that would compare to your beauty, but something you can keep forever.

Happy birthday a little late, precious girl, and please accept this as the first effort to demonstrate to you that fairy tales are real, that love at first sight isn’t just a dream, and that magic is still all around us—dreams can come true—and if you believe, I’ll see to our ‘happily ever after’.

I promise to make you believe again.

Yours always,

Ryosuke

PS I can’t wait until tomorrow!


Elliot blinked rapidly, her eyes going over the words again, scoffing that he thought he could name that many things to “adore” about her, and then she felt the warmth of his words settle across her skin like a mantle, fluttering like butterfly wings against her heart—because she knew, he would certainly try. She blinked away the mist that threatened to spill out, waving the card to fan cool air onto her face, taking a deep breath. Her eyes landing on Saya and Mao who were standing watching her with huge grins on their faces, practically vibrating with excitement.

“You’re gonna want to look at these,” Mao gushed, reaching forward to hand Elliot the cards she’d gathered off the roses, followed by Saya doing the same thing.

“What in the world,” Elliot looked at the first card, at the top there was a small sentence that said “I adore you because you are:”

Short

Sweet

Caring

Kind-hearted

Amazing

Her eyes widened as she read the card, twelve words in all—then another—

Thoughtful

Happy

Generous

Compassionate

Shifting through the cards to find that each of them held twelve words on it—

Smart

Graceful

Beautiful

Optimistic

Each of the words flowed through her mind, wrapping around her heart, weaving itself onto her very soul—

Truthful

Trusting

Trustworthy

Sincere

She felt the flustered state take over, tears dripping down her cheeks—

Tender-hearted

Talented

Successful

Unique

She couldn’t believe all the words he’d written, really, there were 292 of them and she couldn’t even comprehend it, her eyes drifting closed as the tears fell heavily from her overwhelming emotions. Some of the cards were prefaced with “Things I adore about you are…” and he’d listed words like ‘your beautiful eyes’, ‘how small your hands are’, ‘your smile’, ‘the color of your hair’, ‘the way you sigh when you’re content’, and many other words that felt like music to her heart and soul.

When she opened her eyes, laughing a teary laugh, Saya held out one more card, gesturing to the vase of roses that Mao was holding—this vase held six white roses and five red roses.

Curiously, she looked down at the card that Saya had handed her—

I adore you because you are…

Romantic

Creative

Brilliant

Hopeful

Poetic

Amusing

Confident

Loved

Loved

Loved

Loved

Loved

There was an arrow at the bottom of the last word, indicating for her to turn the card over, and when she did there was another note written there—”I’m sorry to repeat the last word, but I can’t seem to think of any other word since the day I met you—five months doesn’t seem like a long time, but to me it feels like a lifetime.

Her eyes landed on the five red roses, one for each month since they’d met, and her mind was frantic as the word ‘love’ played in her mind. Was it possible to love someone in such a short time? Could that be what the feeling was? She’d spent a whole lot of her life attempting to nail her feet down to the ground to “keep her head out of the clouds” as her mother liked to call it—and yet, suddenly so many things that she’d always felt were true seemed like they could actually be true.

Love, romance, being swept off your feet—they all seemed like fairy tale fantasies until now—until she was sitting in a room full of 292 roses, the fragrance thick in the air, the words he’d written, so many perfect words, everything about this…it screamed “dreams do come true”!

“So,” Saya mused, her eyebrow arching as she looked around the room, and Elliot glanced at her, eyes still misty with tears, expecting her to ask about the card or something, “What are you doing with all these roses?”

Elliot couldn’t stop the laughter that bubbled up as she thought about her small apartment filled with all of these flowers, but then her mind drifted to Ryosuke’s words—“something you can keep forever”, smiling broadly, and nodding her head, “I’m taking them all home with me tonight…”

Looking over the flowers, her heart swelled, and she was struck with one thought besides the concern of how she was actually going to get the flowers to her home.

I think I might be starting to believe.

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