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tur1od tuIr oa { tuulJ's hadt uM.

1rr'r
6wtd bJ lo'E IaE Elers, 6td pld
a hi'' dr,tc
ke6b'Mtut4re@babbqul"

of it .t lest orcc ir hef lifc,.. .


Itvsy
sirl h..s dr.-.ot
hs.boDe
pdlce, asFid. s rEgDiGcdt
sted, c.rilg
to
*oop Lc up ud ride with hd irto th sttD$t.
Edwd4
3 Erdish noblcmo,
is evey bit the hudrrne
prircc - *cpt
he docsr't hrve r daruel ia dirt
!s. Aftcr
findilg
out his latc btlct's
w f stipuLtes
th.t Edwrrd
n|r8t b m.iried
by the tbrc h tri,ches .8. 26 or .bk
lGi.g corFol of the bD y cstrte ard forturc, Edwrd's
relatit
hrvc beer tlying to ..ru8e
a n rria$ fo. hiD"
Rebe iag .g.i.st
hb frni\,'s
eisheq Ed*..rd lct3 oIT
to 6nd himscr
a wife of his owr chooshg. But ilstca4
he ffnda Satsuki - r your& Japues
Bt|tdet
schdge
.ttndina
thc.tcr clr33c rt tle loc6l college Of corBe
ther.'s s crtch: S.t3u.ki tu a boy!

F.d$'rrd ard S.tsuki eDt r i.to


m."at
r""*."C"*
Orr
"
. codrr.t.
Sa.suLi will cocs-&ecs aad qree to a $ro
wirh

Edwad.

Itt ..chr.orc.

Edwrid

$ill

I t l. - 13 I r A- l- 55t t O - ? 1 0 - a

ilt
illilllff

ARwb@
qIAKMW
@ffi@
Writtenby

WRITTEN BY
KyokoAkitsu
Birthday:February25th-pisces
The three biggest eventsthat happenedwhile writinl
this book: Beck}amcut bis hair. His Royal Hrghres
PrinceAlexandervisited Japan,and prince Willian
startedto look like his father...

KYOKO AKITSU

TOOKO MIYAGI

English tanslation b!

Trsnslatior By Desig[
ILLUSTRATED BY
TookoMilagi
Birthday:Seprember
24th-Libra
BloodT'?e: B+
I haven'thadanytimeto hit thesales,andnow winter's
almostover..Wlat,sfiong with my life?

y'tr*"

Othe! novelspublishedby
JUNE

Only The Ring FingerKlows vol.l


TheLonelyRW Finger

Contents

Do!'t Worry Mama

The Man Who Dosn't


TakeOffHis Clothesvol.l-2

Act I:
TheTempest........,....................9
Act II:
TheTaningofThe \hrew........47

Cold Slerp

Little Darlirg

Act III:
lvhtchAdoAboutNothing........87
Act IW

A r N o Ku sa b i -T h e sp a ce B e tw enAsYoulik/- It""135
Vol.| - St-anger

4jierword...................
179
SweetAdmiration

CagedSlave

Act I
The Tempest

he faintodorofalcoholreached
thebutler's
nosassoonashe enteredhis master'schambet He
liowned
The curtaim werepulled shut,and the flames
flickeringin the fireplaceservedas the room's only
illumination,despitethe briglt moming sunshining
outside.
Thefaint firelight fell upon the master's
canopiedbe4 which was empty.The butler noticeda
fi8urclying on the couchthat was setbeforethe fir.
A bottle ofbraDdy lay al its feet.
"Master Edward,haveyou beendrinking
agaln?'thebutler askedthe mansprawledout on the
couch-"Ifyou keepup thesehabits,it will simply
oea nratterof timebeforeyou descend
rnlotrue
arcoholism...
"I didn't callyou in hereto lectureme,old
mair."
Ayousgmansarupon thecouchandlaril]
ran-hisfingersrhroughlhegoldenhairlousledon hi"
rorehead
Thi" *u" Ed*urd,theyoungmasterof the
"*,u,".

ffis

ll)

KyokoAkitstl

A PromiseOf Romance

Thebutierignoredhis protestanddrewopen
lhecurtains.Mominglight floodedtheroom.
A hugegardenspreadoul beyondthe
window.grandenoughto requirethehardwo* of:lrl
groundskeepers
to maintainit. It wasthemiddleof
wiDternow andthelandscapc
wasbrutallypuncluate(l
by evergreensButwhilea profusionoffrowersco\crrr
i1in thespring.thegardenwasremarkably
beautitirl
andremained
so all theway throughautumnEdwardhad.lopprllwrapped
g,.\
a dr<ssing
overhis pajamas.
Theredshowingthroughtbecomrr.
ofhis eyesprovedthathewasstill drunk.Theline
olhisjaw wasperfeclandhis noscslraight.his thin
eyebrows
archedintclligentlyoverhis blLreeyes.clear
asa sparkiingsummcrlake.Theword"noble"seeme{l
1()exrstonly so thatit coulddescribe
him.
Thc youngmasternrmedto gazemeaningtirllr
at thesidetable,frowning.Thebutlerfoundhimself
tbllo,'vinghjs master'seyes.An openedenvelopcla)
atopthelable.
''Bringmthatleuer."Ed*,ardo{dered.

Edwardsbruggedand reachedtowardthe table.


fromtheenvelopeandheldil up
Hetooka photograph
It
wasa pictureofa youngwoman.
to
see.
for thbutler
"Do youknowwho this is. old man?"he
demandd
Tryingnotto revealtheshockhefell, thebutler
repliedascalmlyashecould, She'squitean attraclive
youDglady.Doesshecomeliom a go{tdfamily?"
Edwardopenedthe letter."lt's tiom a friend."
"He wrotesomething
very
hesaidconversationally.
interesting
here.I thinkyou shouldhearit."
And hebeganto read:
"DearEdward.
I'm vriting !o you to confirmsomegossipI'vc
heardin certaincircles.Thenameofthe personyou
sein theenclosed
photograph
is LadyMargaret,the
daughter
of Ead Simon.She'snow l9 yearsold."
"['rn afiaidI don't seewhats so interesting , '
thebutlerbegan.
"lt's thisnex1pafl,"Dd$ardinlerruptcd,
continuing
his readjng.'She'sto beengaged
to Lord
Argylin May ofthis yea. Evryoneis talkingaboul
nowtherewill beanextravagant
weddingceremony
andthetwo will becomesocietys leadingcoupte
Ylbm theyear Thereareonly aboul200peoplein
hglard with thetitteoflord. so.rvhetr
I heardthename
fugyle,I thoughrofyou. Ed*ard.I wouldtikevery
nrucbto gettbedetailsftom you-"
It wascurrentlyFebruarythreemonthsbefbre
.
lnesupposedengagcment.
"You'rejust beingdifficult.MasterEd$ard.

"You can do that much yourself,sir." the butl.r


retorled.llatly refusingthe order Despitehis servant\
status.he was proud lo have servedEd*,ard in the rolc
ofa parentfor many ycars.He *,ould not srvehrs
maslerblindl).
Edward smirkedar the butler's responsc.
"l s[pposeyou think l m taking advantage01
!ou. he said.
''lt's the alcohol thal's making you demand
\uch ridr.ulou.lhin$\. lhe butlcr.h,'r hack.

t2

Kjoko,Akitsu

Didn't you know all about it?,'the butler blurtedoul


He must have thoughtil besl 10keep the mattera sccr.,

Of Romance
A Promise

t3

oflord ftom his fatherLike theformerBritishEmpire


lhetntlish anstocrac)
in
whicbhadruledther'rorld.
surrendering
rhe206cenlur,hadnearlycollJpsed.
''ljust foundoutl" Edwardyelledback...N(j.r
propefiy
and
estate
taxes Bul
to
abroad
its territories
l nl conrpletelysoberagain.And I don t renlmoef
ofArgyleshadinvested
duringtiat time,gneralions
agrcetngto any such thing. I assureyou."
andsteadjly
foundeda company,
theirvastestates.
In a nakeddisplay ofangr. he tore the ie c, rf increased
parents'death.
After
his
his
fortunes.
their
_
and hurled it into the lire. The flames burncd,t to ast)ii
father'swill left thecompanyin thehandsofrelatives.
scconds.
over
anindicationofthe old man'suneasiness
''That may well bc, you never recall any of thJ
Edward's
behaviorThercwasalsotheprovisionthatif
thrngswc discuss."the butler said dryly.
Edwarddidn'tmarryby thetinrhewas26. theentire
Edward*.as speechlessal the butler.seasy
lbrtunewouldbe transt-effed
to his cousin.
:tdnnssion
ol'hjs involvemenlin the plot.
"I don'thaveanyinterestin managingthe
..1
Thc butlcrcontinued.
company,"
didn't expecryou
Edwardsaidstubbornly.'Everyonc's
done
to acccptthc tdeaquietly sinrply becausewe nao
exactlywhattheyve wanted10do up lill now.so why
discusscdit, so I kcpt it hiddenliom you...
shouldthefuturebeanydifGrentl"
"Well l m sorry| spoilcdyour plan,..EdwarLl
"Are you sureabort whatyou'rcsaying?"the
sa'd snrcashcalh. Thankfllly. I have frieods\aho kL.rf butleraskedincredulously.
'MasterEdward.ali the
nre rnlormed."
bmeyou'vebeenthrowingyourmoneyaround.have
youevereamedanyyourself:Youcouldneverlive asa
The imageofa manwith chestnut_brown
harr
floaled into the butler's mind. The man showedup tio rl poorman,,,
time to tinle at the manor.a friend ofbad influence
"Godon is a goodn1an.hewouldsupporlm."
Irom Edwards schooldays.
tdwardinsisted
His namewasNeville.i
reporterlor a third-ratenerlspapea.
"Whatareyou saying?'thebutlerasked. Is
.
nat whatyolrwant?Yourt'atherdrovehimselfrrrad
'Bl]t aren t you tbrgettingsomethin8rmporurl
.
overyou.
MaslcrEdrvard
l Accordingto your lafher.swi1l.if \ ()L
j
Hiswilt is hislaslmessage
to you.lellingyou
Io starttakingon theresponsibilities
nol maft(J h) !,,ur 16" binhdc\,thc cntrrcerLar(
ola noblernar "
"r(
inchding the ibrtunc. \l.ill be lranslerredto your cous , .
"l'm.or.) l,' rnrerrull.
old man.hut. .'
. .
$ward heldouthis riqht handin trontofthe Duuer.
MasterGordon. '
thewfuteand
Edwards parentshad died in an aulomobilc
( )n llre
eleeanr
iandot ,rbonrrn\rocrat.
llitldle finger
accidentwhenhe uas 20. andhe hadinheiredthetrll.
resieda ring rhart:rrdlcdr clcrr bluc

ta

K|oko,4kitru

s(nre.lt wasa tan1ilyhcirloom.a bluedinmondpassL


do*'n from gcnemtionto generuaion.He calmly pul r ,
the fing otland tossedit lo thc old man.
Desperate10kecp it fion hitting the floor. lh
bullercaughltheriDgand thcnwenl pale_..This..lh.
rs a ldrgeryl hc grsped...Whal s happencdto the fr.
onc.)Plcesetell Inc you ha\,en.llostitl..
-t cr\(
lLr\,,tnc$L,nt lr\,r](,1t.rgn..
Fd$ardsrid. alnroslDegligently.
''I tftrstvou kDow\rhal thalnteans...thc
bul (
choked
''Ycah.jusronlrofrhis tamill s srupid
lradrhons.Ldwardans$ered.
bored.'.Whenrnenn!
t\.,r . bL.n h.,rd..Jd,,$,r tbr ,,clcjaIon. r\ !.! r J$ .
rl srgnalsnty inrniDentcngagcment...
''Who drd
)ou gi!e it b,t..rhebullerInqurr!,0
_A yolrng
womanliving in tbe badpartof
London. !d$,ard announccd.
Hc mighl ha\c sinrplygi\en ir to a girl scllin!
_
llowers iD the strcel.[t was not bcyond him.
The old manbccamedespondent.
But rhrsuir.
no lrmeto gi\c up.
''ll sirat as you sa!. MasterEdrvard..hc sard
''No onewouldblaDteyou lbr puling an
endro a
tfadrtionthal s pastils tirne.So you canstill marrylh.
Lad! Margaret.'
Fdr{ard sneercdrlrd lurncd a\rav
'MasterEdlrard!'
The youDg rastrsighcd..Ilcl.rx.o1dman.
I II get nrarricd.
just as nr),tatherwanted.Bul t.m nol
nlarryrngsonrearistocrat
s daughlerwhoseonly intefc!L

ll
=,

-(
/r\\\ 1,<.
:\

/;-l
tk

ii

t6

KtokoAkitsu

is philamhropy.
I'll choosemy partnermysell"
''MasterEdward.thatwill neverdo, thebut .r
remarked.
"Why not?" Edwarddenranded.
''The girl's family hasalreadyacceptedthc
oller. ' fhe butler confessed.
_We ll pretend
we didn't heaf back." Ed\lafi
growled.
"MasterEdward!"
Looking tired. Edward again held up a haDdr,,
cu! the old man olll He lumed his blue eyesaway anLl
did nol look at the butler again.
Unwillingto sullylhe mastcr'smoodany
furthcr.the butler remaincdsilent.
''ADyway,prepa.emy things for an tmmcdrrl.
depamrre.' Edwardfinally srid.
"Where will you be going. sir? rhe butler
lnquired.
Edwardsrriled chee.firlly."London. I'm goir,"
tofind nry fiancie.'

A yearanda halfhad passedin the blink ol||l


eye sinceSatsukiImamurahad come to London.
He had spentthe firsl vear in Englisrrranguag.
courses.bul now. hc was pursuinghjs iruc purpose:
studyrngat an aclingschool.He couldnow casily
h.rrdle daily convcrsations.bul when peoplebcgan
runningoffallhe mouthandspeakirgquickly,the
languagcstill escapedhim.
Satsukihad bcen active in the dramaclub thc

A PromiseOf Romance

t7

of
lvholtimehewasin highschool,andhaddreamed
gladuating
with
goingio a famousactingschoolafter
Yohei
Aida
fiiend,
bst
his
He andYoheihadmet in high school-Theclass
hadputYoheiin frontofsafsuki.
arrangement
seating
Hehadbeentheoneto teachYoheieverythingtheother
ofSalluki
boyhew abouttheaterIt wasonly because
becameinterested
in thesubjecl.But despile
thatYohei
thal Yoheihadappliedhimselfandhadgottenaheadof
Satsuki.
SatsukihadthoughthewasbetterthanYohei
atever''thing betteral school,betterat acting.
ever,'lhing.
But only Yoheihadbeenaccepted
to their
chea$school.
"I can'tbelieveI got acceptedl"
Yoheihad
annoucedgleefully.
Satsuliwouldnverforgctlhe look on Yoheis
face,theway his eyeshadshonewhenhecameoverto
tellSatsukithegoodnewsat school.
"[ wasn'tsureI d makeit," Yoheihadgushd.
.You
werea shoo,in.Heres to anothertbur!Ear\
logether!,'
ThepossibiljtythatSatsukimightnol have
gottenin badn'tseemto everenterhis mind.
"Well, I messedup," Salsukihado$nedup. He
nadralliedall themusclesin his l'ace.trvin{ ro nrusrer
a
cheeaful
smile.but it t'ailedmiserably.
Yoheihadloolcdulrcrl!dumbrbunoc.r
*What?"
"l didn'tget in. Satsukihadclarified.
Evenactinghadirs lirnils.fhoughhe hadtried

18

KyokoAkitstt

to pull his faceinto theperfectsmile.a singletearhl,L


escapcd
andrun downhis cheek.
Yoheihadbokedperplexed
for a moment.lhf r
laughed.
perhaps
thinkingrhatSatsukiwasJoking$ jL
hnn.

It was humiliating.
"ls il thar tunny that I didn't gct in? . Sarsuki
had shoutedal Yohei beforeslonniDgout ofthl- roon,
Even he had thought it \\'asa childish way ro
acl. Wheneverhe remcmberedthat day. Satsukis lu..
would go cdnNon with shame.
TalentdetermiDesan actor's placc in the thci, l
world.Satsukirnderstoodtbat.IIe'dthouShrhe'dd(,I
well on (he entranceexans. But the iact thal he had
larled tl)c practicalsectiondevastaiedhim. The nunrh.i
ofpeople who can supportthenrselvcsby acting is
so small. it's almosl nonexistcnt.even for thoscwh(r
gradualeliom specialtraining schools.Satsukihadn l
l-eltarrogantassumjrrgthat he was one oflhose chosci,
l'ew.His unrivallcd love for theatcrhad gilcn him a
senseofconlidencc. But lherc'sa certainspark!o go,\
actingthathadbeenlackingin him. andhe hadn'lber|
accepledby lhe bestschool.And during lhat dark lilrlf.
he d thoughthe would never be a profbssional.ithcl
Satsukihad ended0p graduaringwirhout e\.j
spcakingto Yohei again.He'd also gone to his fall_
backschool.Olcourse.he'd enrolledin thetheatcr
dcpaftnrenl.Bur it was nothing like lhc schoolhe hrl
$antcdl,) po lo. shrch hada rLpularton
ol lumint,
oul huge numbersofprofcssional aclors.AII the othcr
sludentsin his new schoolhad appliedto thar samc

A PromiseOf Romance

l9

aod
aodall hadfailedto get in.All tbeclasses
school,
in themhadanair offailure.Thentherehad
everyone
who weregnuinelysatislledwith
students
the
been
never
hoPedfor anlthingbetter
theirlot atrdhad
couldn'tstandthem,eitherStill. hehadD'lfelt
Satsuki
theexamsoveragain.tlis pridewouldnt
takng
like
allowYoheito behis senior
But Satsukihadnevrbeenhappywilh his life
atthecollegeheneverwantedlo attend.fhen oneday.
he'ddiscovred
a book.lt wasa collectionofessa!s
bya famous
theat(ractoru ho hadsrudlcd
dramxin
London.
"I'll go to London.too!'
By thetime he d Gnished
thebook,hrshcarr
w,s seton studyingin England.thebirthplaccof
theater.
Afier all, evenifhe graduated
$ith a theatcr
degree,
thatdidn'tguarantee
him ajob. It wouldbe
muchmoreusetulto leamEnglishwhile hetookall the
lheater
classes
h liked
He hadnow realizedhis dream.
Theonly realproblemwasmoney.
Not wantinqto bc a burden.hehadcut hinrsell
oFftomhis parents:
supportandffedJapan.But his
moneyhadevaporated
duringhis firstyearat the
Iatguage
schoolin England.So it wouldbe impossible
toaskthemto
hetppayhis schooll'eesnow.
Hewasnowmanaetns
to k(cDhirn\elltrd s rrh
altl-time job in pub.
a
Bui tr., u.',ill in dung"r"
ur
oroDPing
outbecau,e
hetouldnl atlurtilo Davrheru ton.
ifhedidaskhispaJenr.
tbrhetp.thr) \ ;utd probabty
^Drt
JW
tqd bim rhemonerlor a planerrcteihomc.

20

KyokoAkitt

A PromiseOfRomance

Buthis life herewasjustbeginning.


He couldr
go backto Japanyet.

andthefactthathis motherlooked
theJapanese,
yotng for herage.he still couldn'tbelieve
remarkably
was.
Brenda
young
how
shewasnot living a very
Apparently,
in second-hand
life. dressed
out-of-fashion
comfortable
Shewouldalwaysorderonebeerandnurse
clothes.
it Feciouslybeforegoinghome.Shehadtold him
diedearlyandshehadlived alone
thatherparents
evrsince.Bul thatshouldnt havenradeher life so
wretchd.
Neverwrthouta friendlysmiletbr him.
Brenda
alwaysworriedaboulSatsuki'swell-being.
siDce
hebadcomall theway to Englandall alone.She
hadalsobeentheoneto negotialewith thepubowner
to rncludemealsin his pay.Shewasunusualamong
English
people,who wereusuallystand-olnsh
and
reluctant
to interfereiDotberpeople'sbusiness.
But Brendahadn'tbenby thepub in several
days.
He rcmembered
thatshehadbencoughing
coostantly
thelasttimehehadseenher,andhe started

Satsukiwentstraightto work afterhis class!.


wereover Thepub'sownerwasa tlpically brusquc
Englishrnan
oflew uords.He glancedat Satsuki'sf:r.l
andsilentlyseta plateoffood out for hinr.
Themenu!,!asstandard
working-class
lare:
fiied fishandchips.Satsukihadgottena biftird of l
hut he wasin no positionto demandluxury He atc ir,.:
comerof thepub!then\r'enlbchindthebar He wou L
bervorkingnon-stopfromnow until ntidnight.
Thc pub!!as filledwirh the lively energyot
laborersretuminghomefronlwork.
Satsukis maindrty waswashingdishesbeh' {
the bar
Il was physically exhaustingto work a part
tinrejob afier the dcmandsofaclirg all day rn classc\.
but he had so much lin listeningto th rapid-fire
conversationsaroundhim, the onc thing that madeIr.
job enjoyable.And sometimes.the customrswo ra
treat him lo a beer.
When he had finishedwashingthc first barcll
ofdishes.he glancedup at theendofthe bar.Thats,i.
where tsrenda.a regularcustomer.usually sat.
In the courscofhis ntany conversali{)ns
witlr
her. be had becn shocked1(rdiscoverthat Brenda$,a'
only l0 yearsoldcrlhanhim. He hadbcensuresne$,,.
nearlv lhe samcage as his mother And even accoultl r!
fbr {he idea that Wesleme$ agedmore quickly tharr

2l

"l guessshei reuth,:itk.,'


"Ifyou everneedanything.you cancome
seerne,"shehadtold
him once.with no relalrvesrn
EnglaDd,
herwordshadstruckSatsuki.s
heafi.which
w4 alreadystrained
by lonelincss.
Il mustbedimculltbrherro mJnaBc
b) hr'i.elt
..
.
Il she's
sickandall alone
Satsukidecidedto go seeher

22
Walkingdowna squalidsidestreetin a barj ,r.
oflhe ciry in rhebirtercold,Sarsukiilnally spo$edL!
apartrnent
he$as looktngltrr.ThebuildrnB
was!cl
old.lt looledlil,e hadbL,en
burltlongbcfi,rcS .,
wasborn.Theinsidcwasdim. andsmelledofmokl
anddust.lje lackedthecourageto takethe erevar(n.
$hichlookrdlikerr nrighlc,rjldp\c
al an) momcnr
rlrmbedup rhccreirking
srarrcase
ro Brenda
. roorrr
lhe thirdfl oor lle couldnt 6nd a doorbellann!.her..
heknockedon tbedoorhesitantly.
Therewasno answer.
He knockedlouder
''Quil thatrackct!"a voiceyelledfrom insitl,
fhe doorswungopenviolcntlyanoa womrr
*,earinggarishnrakcupappeared.
causjngSatsukit|
He wasin a complctepaniciion thesnocr
ofscreamingat a sirangerHe struggledto thjnkol
somethtng
to say,
''l-l'm sorry."hemanaged
kr stutter.-Um_|
I m a friendof Brenda's..'
The!lomanlookedat Sal\ukianglrt).
__
pornledl)
Inspecling
hinrfromtopto bolrom...,\r(
\,.
Salsukinodded.
''Wc haven'tgol anylhimg
worthstealing...
lhl
womansard,speaking
roughlyin a thick.low_class
,.The
accenlthatSalsukjhadtroubleunderstanding.
door'sopen,soyoudont haveto knockall politel]lr,f
that.Justcomein."
With that,shewentbackinsidc.

A PromiseOfRomance

2l

Unableto leaveafterhavingcomethis far.


Satsukifearfully edgedinto lhe room
clothes
Emptyliquorbottlesanddiscarded
and
the
entire
room
was
everywhere,
werescattered
in disarray.The womanat the door waswrappedrn a
shawlandinhalingdeeplyfrom a cigarette.
andwasliteraliv
Theroomwasunheatcd
ihezingcold.Thehcatermusthavebeenbroken.It
indoorsasout.and
wasataostthesametempranrrc
Satsuki
couldn'tbarto takeolThisdownjackel.
"Brenda'sroomis overthcre."Thewoman
jerkedherchinin thedirectionofone oathcdoors.
Apparntly,
Brendasharedhrapartment
wilh
atle3stoneotherperson,maybemore.
Satsukiopenedthedoorthewomanhad
showedhim.
Thercwasno realdiflercncein tmperature
.
bete,either.Therewasn'tevena light on. By the light
coDioSiDftom themainroonr.hc couldjustbarely
marcouttheshapofBrenda'sbodylying on herbed_
"Is thatyou.Ma).' Brenda's
\oicecame
^reebly
backto him.
May wasthenicknamethathadbeenborn
yhenSatsukjexplained
thathis namewastheold
rapaDese
wordfor thatmonth..,Satsuki"wasdimcull
lor tbepeoplehere
to pronounce.
andso hehadbegut
usngthename
May ai schoolaswell.
Brenda
tl|edto srrup. .whalarlr)ou dorng
,lere?
^ Do you
needhelpl..
Hercheeksweredrdwnandhollo$.Jn\on( ljuujd
.-_
Eutratsllewas
$ asringa\ray qutcl,ly.Sal5uk
I liroleda\!ay.

21

Kwko Akitsu

"l'm fine," he said.,.8u1I noticedyou ha!! ,


beencoming to the pub thesepasl few days.Ho\\,rrl
you? Did you seea doctor'1"
''lt s a fifting end io my lile thar I die here. .r.l
replied hoarsely.
"Brenda?" Satsukigasped.
"l m glad yotl came.May_There.ssometh|.r
I {anl yofl to keep fbr me." Brendaslid a hano unofr
herpillow andpulledour a thinchain.,.ll.ssomethrr!
ncver want mv toommatesto see.'
She gave the chain to Satsuki.At first glanLr
looked like a necklace.but looking closer.Satsukisr\\
that insteadofa pendant.the chain held a ring u,.ith,
lransparentblue stone,
"God appcaredbclbre nte two vearsago an(l
gave me that," Brendawhisperedreverentl-.
''(;od?' Satsukiechoed.
..Up
"Yes,'Brendaanswercd.
till then.mt- lrli
had becn nothing,but sufl'ering.My mother abandof(
me right after I was bom. Did you know that?And |r\
fathertra\ a drunkatd.WhenI $a. hnlc, he uoulu
me to pcoplefor drinkimgmoney.He fiDally died \\ jrfrl
I was 17.and I was fiee. But I'd neverreally been
to school.so I didn t know how to survive etcept b\
sclling m)' body. '
Sarsukicouldn t believehis ears.The
slon Brenda\ a\ le\errshllrellrnghrm sas
incornprehensible
comparcdto hts peacefulupbincil.
in Japan.
''Bul Cod didn t abandonme..'Brenda
continued- He gave me this ring as a reward 1br

A PromiseOf Romance

25

survivilg.He told me it wouldsellfor a lot ofmoney


Hewassobeautiful,it waslike wakingfrom a
him right
night[areto seehis goldenhair I rcognized
'l
a\ray.He wasCod.So I told him. can'tsellyour
ring.I'll treasueit forever.Sopleasecomseem
again.'Atrdno% there'ssomethingI want you to do.
May."
"Wlat is it?" Satsukiasked.
"l wantyou to givehis ring backlbr me.Iihe
comes
to thepubwhereyou work,please-i'Brenda
wascutoffby a coughing1it.
'tsrendal"Satsukicriedout.
Hercoughingshowedno signsofstopprng.
Andtheywerenot ordinar'coughs.Theywerethroa!
rakingcougbs,like bronchitis.Whenhis olderbrother
hadhada coughlike thiswhenlheywerechildrcn.
It wasdlreto asthma.
Everytimefheasthmaflared
up,bewashospitalized
andtheirmotherwould leave
Satsukibehind
to go with his brothrSatsukiwasstill
velyyoulg at thetime,andhehadbeenjealous
ofhis
orotller
monopolizing
theirmother
Brenda's
roommatecameal thesoundofthe
coughrng.
"I'm callingan ambulance
ihis time.Brendal'
.
sne
ylled."We don'twantyou infectinqus wrth
sonething
serious...
Brenda
didnr dn\\ er andonl\ couprrrlr
Par[fully.
"Heylid.1oucanr sravhcrc[ore\er.lh(
w-ooan
snapped.
-ir's geurngtare.suyouhurr;',rr
no&enow.l ll
seewha-tr .ui an rn, r'.. -

26

Ktoko Akitsu

\^onran.pole qutckly!o Satsukthd,l.


,
.The
cnorcc,Duttd leare
''Remmber.,_May..,'.
Brendamoaned
painfully.
Scetngher lrkethrsup\cl \alsulr He n,d
.
nnnry.ltoJrrng
to eomtbrth(r. A look oIrcliet.ca|l
acrossher face.
The woman peeredsuspicjoLjslyat Satsulr
With greal reluctancc,he Iefl the apamnert
That $ould be the last time he ever sa\\,
BreDda.

A PromiseOfRomance

27

thewealthhis friendhadinherited.But he hadnver


Nevilleknew
to tmdePlaceswith him becaus
wantgd
young,
was
ftiend
and
his position
his
though
thateven
wanted.lhe
gave
him
ever)'thing
he
man
ardwdtb
wasml n6ppy.
Nevillehadfirst methis liiend Edwardat lhc
hoardingschool.
socjcty.
Englandis still a stronglyclass-based
working-class
parentshadnotwelcomed
Neville's
theoewsthathehadbeenaccepted
to a boarding
school.
Theybelievedthatanyeducation
beyondthe
requircment
wasunfiftingto theirposition.andthat
working-class
peopleshouldleadworking-class
lives.
Nevillebadearnedthemoney1()paytbr theschool
andteacheB
spoketo his parentson hisbehalf.and
sohebadbenfinallyallowedlo a[end.But all the
otherchildrenhadcomeftom positionsofprivilege.
MemverNevillespoke.his classmaies
wouldmock
tnsbwer-class
accnt.EveDtheleachers
smirkedwhen
Nevillesaidsomething.
Edwardhadbeenin a (omplelel)oppostre
poslhoD.
Evenin theirschool,hehadbeenspecial.He
wasthehe to a comorationwith omcesaroundthe
worl4andwouldone
day inherithis father'stjlle and
Incredible
lonune.
ThctehaJal$a\. beena crowd
0l people
around
h n, andhc rl alqavsrh,rnernrherr
cemer.

Nevillcentered
a wealthyhousingdtsrricl|ll
.
London, summonedlhere by his fiiend.
EveDhefc. r i
most striking building was the live story
aparamerl .r,
liiend owned
In ihis building. cach fioor had three
rno('penJenl
apanmrnt\.l_achdparlment
cosrmur(
thanNc\rllc $ould e\ct eam In htsent||e
lrtcrrnrL.
I
lnenJ.on lh( olh(r hand.u a, sla)lng on
the top I, .
r.nemanhadromhinedthelhreeapartmenls ,,t,
Intn
whar s rrore.h( hiidb,rughrthedlannrenr\
on lh(
nr,or\bclorrso rharhe $ouldn l he drsrurbed
b1 hr
ncighbor..l har*as *h) \crrlle(L,rrld\ec
otrptl
rllunUnalnglhe otlterlour flo,rr\lrom rhe
o t\tde I
Irrendatro ou ncdJ Ita\\i\ c eslarcandrnanor
hou.(
thc oulskirtsofLondon.He hadinherited
On oneside.thefaronte\o,rol d bomarislo(r .
alt 01.itti{.rrr
.
aotl
nrs parcnts.He had ncver had lo work fbr
on
the
other,a workint,class
anythingi ir,
kid whosenatrrcwasas
posrnonmadeeverythingavailable
Sood
as
mud.
to hirn.
whentherfii'r mer.Nevillcuouldncrer
n{ve(hearned
Nevillc. who had nothing, was very jealous (jl
lbatL.duarrl
uoulL!ue.rrhimtrndll

Kt'okoAkitsu

A PromiseOfRomance

Edwardhadbeentheoneto cultivarerne
friendship.
Clearblueeyesbelowshininggoldenhrf
hehadtruly beenlike anangel.
Nevilleremembered
beingterrilledal harrrr
respond1()his pert'ect
Queen'sEnglishpronuncrari,,r
His lowcr-class
accenthadcomeout strongerthan.\!i
tsutEdwardhadr't laughedat him like th.
o(herstudents.
He hadbeenthepicture_perfect
ho|,,
sfudent.
And hehadloathedhis surroundings.
whrr
lovcdhim tooeasily.

yours,"Edward growled
'
you otlt
Nevillegdnnedloothily."Suresnapped
ofyourboredomoul thercin thecountrt.didn t it?"
"lt
"Tha[ks,yes,"Edwardsaidsarcastically.
said'
asYou'd
wassllexactly
'DoD't you thinl it's timeyou gaveup andgot
Edward?"Nvilleasked.concernevidntin
rnanied,

Nevillegreetedthedoormanat theenarane!
.i
rcdelhe elevatorto Ihetopfloor.Tbiswaspracttcirl!
hrssecondhone. Openjngthedoorwith his sparel,\
Ncrrllehaded
intorhcs tingroom.expecring
tu
nts Inend
Edwardwas sprawledindiflerently on the ! ri
His silk shifl was unbuttoned,revealingtbe barc sliI
ofhis chest.Whenhe sawNevilleout ofthc comel
of hrseye.he raisedthe* rncglassrn his rrghthan.r
apathsticallJ
"You're pretty late,aren.t you?..he greclc(l
was gelhng tircd ofwaiting."
Nevillecouldtell Edwardwas in a baonr(!\,
"So what else is ner,a"
Sincegradurting,it had beenmorc exceprr r
to seeEdwardln a good mood than otherwise.
"l didn t think you d get to London rnls
qulckl],." Neville explaind.
"11's all because of that ietler of

29

his shoulders
dismjssively.
His friendshrugged
hisfacsulky."Don't be ridiculous.who wouldI
marqnNoneof
lhegirl. in theriFhllhrnilies
intcr(.1
me.I'mdoingenoughjust livi,rgout thelite tlat s been
seloutfor me-"
"That'sa prettyconslr[ctiveopinionfor you."
Nevilleremarked.
"Constructive'1"
A conlusedexpression
clouded
Edward's
facefor a nroment.but thenhebeganto laugh
sotly,'Neville,I just badthemostwondertulidea."
"Letmcsa) somelhing
tirst. Ne!ill(
.
rnEnupted.
"l reallydo think it s besrifyou gel
mariedlikeyour father'swill says."
IfEdwardcontinuedthisidle lifestyle.it would
ultu&telydestrovhis bodvanrlhis soirir.lihs wcrc
loqany,hecouli lead
a healthierliie. Thatwasn,ny
le hadto many.But the
truthwas.thesel,l'ordsdrdnl
expaess
Nville'struc feelings_
'Ne!er mindlhal. l-duardsaiddismt\srr(l).
..,
JLr$
listen.
I M.l//sermarned.
Bul ,t.ll bea iham.l.ll
maqysom.nn..
nrr inhentdncc
onceand ror dll.
aqlten kiss e;l
my-.wrd. goodbve...
"Do you thinkthatwouldwork'l'Neville askcd

l0

dubiously.
"Most womenareprettygreedy.Do yorl
thinkyou canfind a womanwho'lljusr give up bcn!
LadyArgylevoluntarily?"
"l knowofsucha woman,"Edwaroassurrtr
him,"About two yearsago,I becameacquarnreo
\\ ltr
very nicewoman.Her horriblesituationin life nn,\il
nle to give hermy family'sheirloomring."
"You don'tmeanlhe bluediamond?"Ne\ r iL
askedincredulously.
I{e hadrareiybeensurprised
by anyrnrng
Edwardhaddonein all thtimetharhe'dknownhnl
butnow hewasat a loss.Therewereonly a handlirri
suchlreasures
in theworld.He couldnt conrpreneI
srmplygivingthering to a s[anger
"Shesaidshewouldnt sellit," Edward
drawled,"thoughits pricewouldhavesuppo(edhfL
for thereslofher lil'e.Sheonly saidshewantedt(' ,ii
me agarn.lsn t thatanunselfish
woman?I.m surcsni
wouldbewillingro help."
''Maybshedidn t knowhow muchrncrrrrr
wasworth?"Nevilleguessed.
"Who cares?"Edwardsaid. 'l m goingro h|l
her lfshe still hasrhering,she'llbemy hke bridr,
"And whatifshedidseltit aflerall?,'Nc\i f
asked.
''l'll buy it backandfind anotherwomaD.
Edwad answered.
Nevillepushed
on. 'Do youthinkyoucanI rrd
anolheronc thateasy?"
"Whatwouldbeso mucheas;cris ifyou $.r'c
a woman.Neville.' Ed$ardjoked.

A PromiseOfRomance

ll

Nevillestatedat his liiend."l thinkit'd be


betterifJro, were a woman.You'd be muchasierto
dealeilh."
[Ie thoughthis
Edwaldlaughedboisterously.
kjdding.
friendwss
"Well I'm notgoingto sethims!ruight,"
Nevillethought.
'l'm sorryto springthison you,but I'd like
youto comewith me," Edwardsaidafterhis laughte.
hadsubsided.
"I'm at yourservice.my lord."Nevalle
mocked.
His friendftownedat him.

Satsukihadno ideawhatto do with thering


Bietrdahadentrustedto him.
Tberewasa huge.fansparentbluestone
setintoit. Thesettingwassilverofamazinglyfine
wottmanship.
Satsukiknewalnost nothingabout
Jewels,
butevenhecouldappreciate
the
how expenslve
nngruusthavebeen.
He felt thatifhe wereto wearit whilwalking
arourdoutside,someone
wouldstealhis entirefinger
t0getit. H"
t."vc il in his room.either.lor
rearofrobbrs.
"ou16r,',
Forthelastthreedavs.hehadwom tbe
chailil hs belt loop.
andtepr rhenng in hr' poctrr
tlofeltrnost
secue$henir ucs wrrhhlm I ren so.hc
wl8woiried.
He hadrashtyagreedro rerumrnerng ro
rBownetbut
it *us a daunr,n!usk.
"MaybeI shtul(lgo giP it ha& to BrenLlu.'

a2

K|okoAkitsu

Hc was afiaid ofsecing lhe woman who


Ived with Brendaagain.but he couldn,t keep lhc
r r,
forevcr So he decidedto go over allcr work.
Satsukiwas washingdishesbehindthe bar ,r.
hc alwals did when the door openedand a cusronrr
cantein. Hc looled up. hopjnglhdl rt mrghtbc Bf.
Lalet).he badgoflenIntorhchabilol checl,n[ i\
tinre a customercame in.
It wasn t Brenda just !w-onren.But Sal\r L
couldnt stopstaringat oneoftheD.
Thc fifsl thtnEhe ,rolired$as the
tlo5s\ |
,
^. hc \ds rhc.Itorrlh
narr.rhcn
facc.t{ h c and.LltlJ
like nrarble lhat, and his slenderheight.maoe
trrcrrr
l,'ok lrlr a mur re.rar q ho hadjusl ,;pped lhror.r,
lhe scr(en.H( $a. !!rapn(JIn a tath,redloDg(o.l
.upplc labrrc$ho\! e\pcDsr\epllc( range
wasul-. .
dl lrI.t \rght.Hc *a' unn'"uk161,unlrkcthe re.r. .
cuslome$.
Sincecoming 10London, Satsukihad rcali.,,il
lhat.lherc
$crc htrdly an\ (,t thesl) lrshforeignct.
ualkrnpdroundthesrr(ctslhathe had\cEn
in
Dragazines
and on TV The Europeansin the medrr
were dtflerent.
"Mavbe he! a model.C)rmaybe.._,,
Satsukiran throughall the British actorsh.
knew iD his mind. but noneofthem nratched.
"A I hdd to guess,I d vr],he taok:
tike
Be.kha belot" he c hishu .'
Somelhingaboul the man resembleorne
firmoussoccerplayer
Ihe man took offhis coat. Benealhlr. ne \\.r.

A PromiseOfRomance

ll

,re2ringa silk shirt that faintly reflectedthe dim light


the bar and ordereda straightscotchHeapprosched
orderedale'a Britishstyleof beer
Mostcustome6
wastmusual,and a straiShtscotchevenmore so
Scotah
theshotglassin a singleswallow.asifhe
Hemptid
was&fuldng water,and casuallyorderedanother
Satsukistaredat him in amazemenl.His rough
way he
styledidn'tfit wilb thefashionable
drinking
glass
like il
knocked
back
the
second
He
wasdressed.
waswgter,!0o.
Suddenly,
theman'seyesmt Satsukts.
Startlo4
Satsukilioze in themiddleolwashinga dish.
Theman'seyeswerethesameshadeofblue
asthestonein thering Brendahadgivenhim. He gavc
Satsuki
a friendlysmile.MaybeherealizedrharSatsuki
hadbeenstaringat him.
Satsukifelt his pulsequickcnwith
embarassment.
Ignoringhis discomfort,theman*aved
lafsuki
over.
"Yessir?"Satsukiaskedlimidly.
"I believea womannanedBrcndacomesro
Ihispubregularly,"the
mansaid.. Do you knowher?"
Satsukimarveled
at thebeautifullvaccented
hglish
the manspoke.
Britrshpeople
speak
diffetenrl\
dcpending
on
oeirsocial
clasi..tapanese
pcopte
can:lus;all)rell
he difrerence,
but \rhenFnclr;hDeuDle
sDeJrr(,ca(n
oar,Uey
canlell in fiveminures* hara oer.on.s
r6ts i8atrd
wberethcvuere lrom.5ar\uk;lr\ cu aIU
"olted in workrng-class
areas.anJ his ichools as

ii1ii1
l

tirll of nliddle-classsrudeDts\\lto weren.l parlicu ,r


r
scrlth]. Thrsnrirr'qr. uIltl( a \,,rr( (l.e 5dt.,rl
encountercd.
Salsukihadnc\ef nreta nternbcr
ofthc Lr,"r
class.ln tbiscounlrv\rheretheclasss).stemsljll
lhrivcd.elcryoncknewtheirplaccandraretl rn\..,:Ll
thetcrritorvot thc othcrclasscs.
tsulthcn.if thf I
*as partofthc upperclass.he *.ouldn.tharc eL,r,.
placelikc this.
_Brcnda
s hcensick.Shehasn.lbeenb\ . iri
Setsukianswcrcdhonestlv
''I hopcshccomcsback. thc man s cD..r l
harrcdconlpanl(Dsaid.shrugginghis shourocl\
''Me. too. l he bloDdmannoddedrhcnrr. r.,:
b ck ro Salsuki. ( an you give tsrcndaa ntcssng.,
rlr<
''Of coufsc. Salsukipronlptl).fcplied.
''l m rling to locatea riDgandwould lrk, r,,
gel rn rouchwilh hcr. the'mansaid.
Ilc took a sil\er business
cafdholdcrtr(,r:rir!
rnnerpockelot hisjackerandhaodedoneto Srl\i.
along$ ith a lip. 'l hcD.finishingthc restoflhc sr,,L.rl
lri. !1r... he sl,,d .rpr,,!r. I r.lr rn,,rr hc rnr.r
I
as if it hadcomestraighttiom a movic.Thc Imt.i,.,,,
h ga!e $as unlikethill ofolhef pcoplc.
''G)d.qa.| i t.) t("
S lsuki recalledthestor) Flfcnd.r
hadloll rn
''tu ntlt s.)bld tilitl t ras
rik( \ukin! 1,, t,.
ni{hlnut? h \e! his gol.lo hdi t rcLoKnt_llll)1,, t:
trui ltu w^ Got '
Wr\ rhr. nriIl tllc ,rod tr,,rrrBR.nJ.,. .,. .

A PromiscOf llomancc

15

He lookedat lhe bus'nesscard. Thc hllc


lord" appearedbelbrc lhe man s nameindicaling his
noblestatus.Satsukihad no idea hotr Brendakncw
but that wasn t going 10slop him fronl
a nobleman,
tellilgherthather'god'hadcornelookinslbr hcr
the tip lhe man had giveDhim was tar loo
Besids,
largefor simply passrngon a mcssagc.

Oncework was o\er, Satsukr*ent back rc


Brenda's
apartment.This timc. hc knockedon the door
gentlyso that the odter wonranrvouldn-lyell al hin
again-Whenhc lumed the kDob.hc discoveredthal lhe
doorwasnt locledxnd . rtl\ r\ ul|i nn( .
He feltodd (rntcr
rng ltr( lroLrrc
u trhour.rr rn!
anytnlng,
so he whispered excuseme to hinrsell in
rapanese,
w1lenhe went into thc livin! room. he s \l
a wornaqdiflerent fiom rhe one hc had mct bcfore.
weoingalmostnothing nnd $,ith
her t-ec-t
up on a chair.
Srvhgherselfa pedicure.
Shemisedhcr headand lookedat Satsuki
suspiciously.
"Whats a kid lik( lru dolre hcr(l shc
,
oematrded.
"I cameto seeBrenda.' Sarsukisrid. l'nltering.
"Brendal{ th. \h( JriLjthr<(da\\ .r!o. lh(
..
"oalqll saidIndrftbrentl!
'Dr'.ed?'.Satsukicchoed
dumbt!.
,.Yeah,,.
the wonranconunrerl
"But I sawherhcrelast\reek-'Salsukisputlcrcd.

36

Kyoko Akit:u

A PromiseOf Romance

He could harthe llinatious voicesofa


man and woman ln Brendas aooln.Seizedby an
uncontrollableimpulse,Satsukirin to the roonl l|,i
threw the door opcn.
"Who s that?'a voicegrowled.
''Sonrekrd ;. spyingon u\: anoLhcr
!c,.
crredout.
Two strangerswerc tangledrogetheron llrr
bed.yellingal Satsukis intrusior.In a momeDr_
ltr..
l ce and earswere buming. IIe rook a step back.( rl
iin aboulface.thenran out oflhe buiidingas fasl.r.[,
lcgswouldcarryhim.

37

blotdEa! badgivenhim He endedup in a high-end


residntklareanearRegencyPark He paid the fare
withfu tip money,but therewasstill a lot left overin
chiDgP.
As hegotout ofthe taxi,Satsukigaspedat the
buildingthatroseup betbrehim.
lu{rioosapaltment
glowing
was
with Iightsanda uniformed
oatance
The
it.
doorErdsioodnext to
HebrieflyhesrtaleJ.
burhecouldnl gr\e up
noi{.Hgathered
up all his courageandshowedthe
busiletscardto the doomran.
"Straightto lbe lifth ffoor."thedoomransaid
aftercalliryupto theroom.He poinledto thelevator
itr!irtc.
How longdid he runl He didD.levenkn(,r
'"Than}you," Satsukisaid.feigning
wherche wasor hou he'd goltentbcre.pantins.r(
nouchalaoc,
andstepped
into thc lavishbuilding.
linallycameto a stop.
Hepassed
throughan immaculate
lobby
Iie finallyunderslood
the5on ofplacc flr.rLli. eocbsd
by marblewalls.Inside,thebuildingwa!
aparlmentwas. Her roonrntatesall eanrcdtheif li\ I t:
mole[ke a lurury horel.F\ en thoughpeoplel'\outd
by sclling their bodics.He understoodnow wh\ lJrrir,i 0walkhgthiough
lhc roomin ouldoor.hoe\.rhtck.
hddnt $antedthe'nlo \ee lhe rillg.The) $crc th.
luxuiouscarlels\,rere
spreadacro\\e\ cry inchol lhe
ofpeoplcwho woulduseherroomto do thetrDUsr!,. noor.
A giaDt
chandelier
hungfromthehighceiling.
8rvitrg
Jusldaysaftershe'ddied.lfthey saw herring.lhr\
of a radianllishl. He-re
andtherc.iasc,ia, ratt
sspaople
\\,'uld n r oul !'
i r a. Ia\td\ thc) could.
decorated
tie ruom.\ho$ Ingoff\running
-cll
Aller runDiDgrandomly rhroughan unLirr I ir: Eratrgements
of freshffowcrs
areaal Dtght.Satsuki\\as complclelylosl.He cull.rir
Satsuki
got into rheelevarorandoushedrhe
.oulm
ta)ir.
for thefifth floor
Londontaxisarclhebcsrin theworld , .
He wasoveruhelmed
by thef.eeling
thathe
a,r,..
{a-t berong
grvethe' anaddress
.nd they'lrtakeyou slrar.rrr
there.But he hadaccepted
thc blond

*n""'::;::f,"i:*"urhedriverrhcbusin(ss.
, , S;k"*::T,l'lf,::;];l;!*::"n*:,,

]N

Thc chancesr.ere good lhat this man was the nn1..


propcr o\r'ner',
Ihe elevalordoorsopelted.l hercwas ir , .r!,
deeplvcarveddoof stamding
at thc endol_thch.r
SalsLrkr
prcsscdthe doorbellbesideil. and thc dLr
openeda l_c$monrentslrler.Bur it wasnt thc hl{ .,
nranslandingin thc dooNva\.il \\as hischcstnrLr L
lriend
''You'rclhe kid lionr thc
fub. Whardo \.,
ulrl' rh. r'lJ r\lcJ, it(tnts-\rr\l.l| .u\pt.t.,
Satsukihndnl nolrcedin lhc p b. bul lh - ,,1
\\as rn his o\\'ncatc{on ofbeautr.Belowhrsehf rL
darkhairglinredtofiic trro\rneyes Bul lhc blo|,
Inans charisnla\\as so o!cruhcinllnglhal. tle\t(lL,'
hrs liiend s indi\rdUalcharnls$erc smothcrcd
''I canreto lellyou thntBreDdas passcrl.,
Lr\
Satsukisrid Ijust Ii)undour urlseltiAnd sheg:, . r,
sonrshrngbefirreshcdicd.'
lle sasn l surcifthe marrkncr \\hlL n.,.
goiDgon. bul hc l(x)kthering lfoln his pocketi|),r :,i
it up.
Thc nrans c'-csriderrcdandhe lookcJI ,,|r
SalsukiIo lhe ring and trackagain.
'-Didyou kno\\ thallhis is the hcirloonr,,l,
.\Llr\lc \ l.rnril)l hellsked.
''ll \r lord s hcifloonr'lSrlsLrki
que\1r,,,..1
br.k. rcDc.ttlng
thc Unl. rriliaruords
''Yes.rt is. thc n1 n srrrl Atlcr sonrclrc. r '
hc rdded. You d belld conte in. '
It $ould b('dilll.ult n).rll rhernans r, .

A PromiseOl Romance

t9

"Doeshe rhinkI n hete1oscdnlthenl"


bul he d uonrcthis l'ar he
Satsukiwasannoyed.
He
nodded
rnd lirllowedthe nran
no$.
give
up
could!'t
intotheaPartnent.
endhada high
Tte mainroomwasspacious
But
in
contrasl
lo
lh! lobbys
the
lobby.
Iike
ceiling
was
room
dark
orrd
blcakl hcv passed
this
brilliance,
a numberofdesertedfoonrsbclbrcflnall)
thrcugh
onewith a personin il.
reaching
Adoublebedhadbeenplac('din thcroom.
andit semed
by all appearances
to bea bcdroont.'lhc
blond
manSatsulihadseenin thepubwasspra$ted
oulona sofa,a glassof light brownliquiddroopingin
hishand.
"Edward.you havca visitor. Lhechestnur
haared
mansaidto the bloDd.
.,
. "Wellnou.ir .lhc rurr,:rrltronrrhepub.
wluoutgetring
up.th( hlondmr||nanted
I duJrd
tlmedhisgazeon Satsukirnd snriled.He nroved
laDguotousty
andan air ol {iecadelce
clung10hiln.
" A c t u a lll.l rnl, ' r r g rrl.I m b u ). S d l. rt r
(oneded
him hashl].
Because
ot hisnarnr.lrr r.rs orlcrrI \lJkc tor
.
agrl,even
In J.rpar.| |:r drdrr'r...errr
r,'Irarrrha,rg.J
ilce comrng
to I nllan,i.h r il s r\ ),,r(h I irt rr
'" 4 mlstaken
for rI| I I,r,.x {. !,t lrt\ t;tct't. n(t ltr. ,
Itrl nane
Ed\^ardsrr(d Jr h Ir \Doar( l,\ l,(.tr.tn I
wucveSatsuki
"Sorry," he said tliicf a sho
rrrus..
?erhaps
nolicingSlsuki s rrrnoyance.
trtu axl

4t)

K\oka.lkiLvt

A Promisc(lf Rnmance

krssedrn il srnilcwith his tpolog).


Salsukitelt as ilLd*ard was makins:rti .,
him andsrc\ e\en nlorcupsel.llutrcmindinghirr .q
th.rthe hadrr'tconrehere1opick lights.h('triedtt, r,
do$n. He u,asnt al all usedlo beingprovoked
''YoLlsce.
lvhalhappcned
is... AndhLt, l
Ld!\erdwhat hadhappned
to briDghirr rhcrf lI
sho\\cdthe nranlhc rine.
Ld$ard s lau!rhtef
int.'nrptedhint
uncxpccledh
''\i)u heafthill.\cyillel lrc ntelTil\\ilr,r r ,
tlan s lailcdpfetl\ qLticklv.'
\itt.Ili .<rr(d \rrh r'j r4 , tl(n\i\c ,
Ldlvard\ nrannef.
The rraDscemedto bc nloc^rI
IicDdr's dcalh.
- l rn nol surprised.thc chcstmrt,hatrc.t
f, r
narrrcd
Nc\rlle replredglunrlv
''Well.it thc ring belongsto
!ou. I ll gr\r
it back. Srlsukisaid. Orherwise.
I ll rakerr rrrLr.
po1ice."
He wanledb gel out ol-rhisplaceas soi'f . r '
cou1d.Ilis patience
hddlimits.Nc!ille hadnl scfrJ'r
\ery wclcomrng\\,ithhis guardedmanncr.and I (1,\.ir,
didn t seemlo be lhe ktndofpersonSatsukr\\rntr, L,'
bc arouDd\,r,rth.
Bcsideswhich.so lnuchhadhrlffrrr
.rlrcad\lhrl he \\as iusl wom out.
r:
''Oh. it s delinitellmiDe. Edr"-ard
Lrsrrrrr,j
''I ga\c il lr) Bfendal$o \rearsago.-'
Sarsukiheldrhcring out to hinr. 'Thc l'i !r1'
it hackto vou. '
Edwrrd gmbbcdS.rlsukr's
extcndcdh.lnJ.Lrt'r

was cont-used
slippodthering onto a 6nger' Satsuki
"This ring is lhe heirloonl ofnly tamil)."
lgnoringSatsuki'sreaction.Ed\lard told hin the same
$oryNeville had given him eaflrer. When we give this
ringaway,it's on,y to our intendedbrides.By the Nay.
arcyou Chineselt"
"l'm Japanese."Satsukrans\\'efed.
"Did you conreto Londonto sighlsec.)'
Edwardasked.
"No. I'ol studyinghere..ll a lhcnlerschool.'
Satsuliexplaincd.
'Theater?"Edrard echocd.dclightcd.'Rcall!.'
Andyour namel"
"lmamuraSatsuki.'
Satsukideliberalely
ga,Le
hrslull ratre rn the
JapaDese
order Most Brilish peoplc\reren t usedto
Japanese
namesaDdcouldn t renreDberthem verv $ell
alieronlyhearrng
rlrcmon((. llL r\ a.n l Born! lo ht'
n'ceaid spell his nameout tbr this arrLrgant
man.
"Is lmamurasalsuki
vouutifst narrel Fd$ard
4ked.
Satsukirelenteda liltlc. No otc in LondoDhrd
everpronounced
his nanreso \rcll.
"Imamurais nlv t;mil\ name.Satsukri\ nry
.n]stnam."
. WhalLr
"Satsuki."tsdwardrnunnurcd.
wonderfully
erorri ncrrreAn(l \!1....,r.\ !o:r.ru\..\i
uo!'t
Youthrnk so. Net rllc
He sho\ed ni' .r!r ol r(l(.,:r',!\.rr5ukr)hrr(l
dlNeville
^,.drdwic
"h.,"_
rlxcuscnre. Satsukiultered.

1)

Kt,L)ko
Akit.ttl

tlc *,as starlingto fecl a liltle trrppcd. \, ,rl


.
hrd c|er heldhis handfbr ro long.Whcn he rfl.J
,
casuall),
pull his hand.rwa)..
Edwardrierhleflo
| , ,r,
I hc mrn \r'assmiljng.secminglvenlo]:ingnrnrsfi
Whshe laughingar Satsukr.s
disco,nlinl
Satsukigot cvenangrieral (hethoLreh{.
BuLrr \,)L rr
hc lerv ndLllllikekr losehis remFr rightaliel rr.
t. !
sonttolc.so he pulledhintsclflogethcr
''Ho$ \l'ouldvou likc ro be mv fiancec.,'
l-d\\'nrdsuddcnlvasked
The quesrron
banledSatsukr
''Your rz?r..ji:?
r' he asked.
He wasbeginDing
t()loseconiidence
In n.
hnglishskills.tlc hadno idca$.harLd\rard$.a\\. . : !
C. rr l'"nt(r,.. I J(Jrd (\pld ,(d I
trcrn{ larced to nra| }- sonteoneI hal.eno inrercsr
$hatsoevcr.
andso to aloid lhat.l.m lookjngiirf.
/./kchancic.You sajdlhal ]-ou.recnrolledin a th., il
schooll"
Sarsukirodded. ycs...
''Sothcnvou rc rood at acring...
Edwar(t
reasoncd
out. lto$ abourirl j.ll payyou .100
fouf,.
a 0a) to pretcnd10be my fiancde.I thiDkthat.s
lrIlir
good. '
''aio()didea."Ne\,illechimcdin. ..'I.his
tr(l
$or,lJ lu,,l creir Jr(,{J Lrpt,le:r prrt.. r r.rrr.
lr.Id h( haJto h,,ldhr\ st,,rna(h
''Waita ninutc. S:rtsukiprolested
,.l.nriL \.1
And rtv do vou nccd to nrakeup a take fiancie , I fl
.rrr( \r,U.'oUlJrind.rl,,r <rrerht($,,rn .
r
^i
Ed*ard sniled nrefirllv.

A PromiseOl Romancc

4l

"l don'tthink thai$ould work."


"Most wonen u'ouldn l slop at .iusl prctcndilrg
o bea fiancdefor a rich. handsonlearistocral. Neville
.xplained'
Edwardsighed$ea.ily wc rvcrc planningto
alicr all. She would
askBrenda.Shewas a prostitlttc.
_
her
haveundentood
Positlon
Satsukifelt the blood rising to his iace. Ho$
pathetic
Brendaseemcdno$. thinking of him as hef
he was
wasn'tjustbeingdtsnrtsstve.
GodlEdward
insulting
her
"l can'tdo it. Sarsukisardroldly. Plersclind
someoDe
else."He yaDkedhis hand frce.pullcd ihc rllUl
dlT.andsetrl on r lahlc IrcLrrrrneJy,'rrrrrngrros.
soI'm goinghomc.'
He couldnt hidc thc shilrptLrnein his \oice
"Youseemto be upset. Ed*ard saidcoolll.
''Letmetakeyou
honre.as an apology.'
"No, thankyoul Satsnkircplicdinrmcdialcly.
Edward'srudencssnrighl ha!c bccn an
ofthat British con\ersationaltcchniquecallcd
'x,ampk
''wil" but
it had gone too tar
SatsukiwantedDo fudher p.rrt in lhis
cotrversation.
He hddalrcxJ\ fumr(J J brd oprnt,, ot
"He friphtt,'oAyo, .t trtr tt, \ ':.'t ,i r.' , tl
Wsonal i\r.,.
Edwardsmiledrvrnningl). Don t he \h).'
Sarsuki
rerll\ $rr,lcJ t(,.ir\ n,, lJrrt.rrrrl'c rIrl.
L
^wotrnd
up beingriten hnnri rr I d$ird . f:rf. th..
"'{rnreason
wasrharh( JrJr r kno$ h,'tr ,,' grr h,rl'e

a+

K|oku Aki^u

And i1*,ouldha\c beeninpossibleIo tinda rr\


Lrl
lniddlcofrhe nighl in a residenlial
neighborho(,,1
Thc only brighlspo!$,rstharhdwardhr( ,r!
drunk.tnd so Ncrlllc dfo\ c Salsukihome.I.hr\fr..
$ rth thc chestnul-hair
u is a bit of a nrvsteryhirn. .
but collrparedk) Ed\ rd. he seemedpcrl'ecth Jr,r ,r,
''Do vou ieel n 1r$lccallllef.l.Nevillc r,1,.
1..
h!'drovc. He doesDt nrcananv hann.Juslrrnrr ,|'
hc ras drunk and tbrgcl all about il. .
''Brcnda\\artcd 1()scehinl
\er! badl).llL, ,rt
Ihirg\ he said... SatsLrki
brokeon. He couldn.r
coInplaining.
''Whalwas!oul lltDrergarn
l.. Ne\ ille .i. . I
''SatsLrkiIt nleans Nla\'rn Japanesc_
st,
ere|aonecrll5 n]e thatinstcad.'
''Nli]. thcn.I nr Nc\ille Oaktc)..Iu,ork r,, r
thrrd-rate
tabloidpapef '
''\bLr'rea joulnalisr?Slrsukiaskcd.
Nclillc noddcd.thcnidl silenl
Thc car spedthroughthe nighi.
Outsiderhc window.Salsukisar lharrr| ,
lhc storcs\\,erccloscdandno one walkcdthc rlrc.i. L
thecrt\ as rt slunrber('d.
Nerillc sccmcdto bc tij..r,r,l
cntrrel!orrdri\ ing andsho\\.e'd
no inclinationI(,. r ,,
and\o Salsukil-ellsilent.l(n' I lreJarrivedat S . ,"r.
burlcling
uithour$er resunting
{hccol]!.ersifloJr
Whcn hc clinrb.dour ol rhccar.SatsuNr
LL!
out \\ hatlcnlainedol-lhelip fionrhis pockct.
''Would)ou plcasegi\ c rhjsnrone\bLr.t,,.
nrel-he rcqueslcd
''Wh) l N.\ i c $ ntcdro kno$

A PromiseOf Romance

'15

'"Theres no reasontbr lnc to kcep it.'Satsuki


out
Dointed
"You re prelryhon('t. Jr(ll l \otl1' \(\illc
"l don't think he caresaboul the money.
rernqrked.
though."
_lonlvused
"/careabotltit. Salsukrinsisted.
'
somofit to pa) lor the taxr to his placc.
themoney. I
"All right. Nevilleacceptcd
ot
prece
adr
r.
c
f,,r
r,'rr.
one
have
Just
'rr'.< 1,,rrre "
sincere.
Don't get mi\ed ul \r ilh hiln '
''Well.ld,,n I lhirrl I lLhc..trnr'"rr,t 11.rrn.
Satsuki
threwback.
"Let\ hopcso. Nc\illc saidarrrbiguousll
and
thenleft.

Whenhe reachedthc bourdinghousc.S.tsuki


wentsFarghl
lo hr\ foonrJ Ltt(ll ,n1,,hi.l(d.
Somuchhadhappcncd
toda).
He had worked hard all da\ at schoolrhcn soDe
nraigbl
lo hrsJobal lh( tII,. rirl:rt,'r(\.,ItJ trJ\(
hio out. But in the dccpcsrpafl of thc nighl. he
Im
tad ivitnessed
fi.sl lhe ver1,loucit antl thcn thc rcrl'
ntShest
levelsof Lon<lonsocicn
And Brendarvasdcad.
Theirnarlfilqhfldb(( 5c ,LJ,lut lhl h(
coltldn'tprocs.5
it ai .,tt
He coutdDl c\(n \ i,l n(r u.r\( o(. ru.LlrJ
,..
tknow
[0n
',\hereir *ar \rr,Jtr.rrrrrrsrrrrc,-rr,,1,
w b herapann..rrt
sslrn
Whenhe shurhl..rt,. :r rr:r!(,,t L.l{.u,1,

ab

Kyoko Akitstl

handsomefacelloatedup in his mind


l!_allhe hadknownwas Ed*.ard'sappcr. ,.,
the man would ha!e heerrped'ect.And hc \l.asr r.,L
aflstoclat.
Mectinghim wouldbc goodfor a st(jr,rl rr,
SalsukiwcntbacklD _tnpan.
'Th"tryltI ltpob,thh rirtt ,,t ttut
,.
Satsukitoldhinrrelf.

Act II
TheTamingOf TheShrew

"Mayl May! wakeupl '


Satsukididn'lrealizehc wasbeingspoken
toalfiIst.Whenhejerkedhimsclfa\\'ake-all of his
classEates
wereIookingat him andlaughing.
Theywerein thc middleofAuthentic
Movements
Class,whichinvolvedeveryone
closing
theireyes
andmovingfieelyb lhe musiclhc tcacher
pl.ycd.
ThesecondSatsukiclosedhiseyes.he d tallen
Hisclasses
hadbeeneettinsharderandharder
trtclysince
theschootwasprJporirigfor theend-of,
sene$er
performance.
ln additionto thcir usualclasses.
sfudgnts
hado attendrehearsals
for theDlav.He was
beSruntlg
lo approach
hrsphlsrcallrmrr.r-r,,rt<rng
ar
rhenubwbile
iuendrng
rta,..s.errrrt trequrrrhc;ob.
newouldbeforced
trriurl school.roo.
"Thehey rhiry vutt,ttu t,,t,tti,t hr,,tr t,.ut
"^, -andger
\tool
a Lctkl tub:,, t tt,t,tJ..rrtt qntt ,u,-t,.
'aq coneback..

an

K\oko,lkn\

lrNrnxnlhs pa! at lhc pubjustby dressing


Lrp,1.
And it lvouldn.tbe thc firstlime that
h( I .r{
,
. j\
drc\\fil
r $,'nrr . cjlhcr.F,.rhir fir,r ru,, r..
|'r Jr!lr ,(lk,ul. thc,,ld(r slud(I|rstud
J,,,(!,r.
f'r.I ihi !\,, lcI\rohs i\(D l n!.th() Jrd., I
-;ro||I srrrrcJLr J^ i l. b ,J\ljn.Ic
had,., I I
rls pfctrtcrrha| a rcll rirl. lr his
lhird \eai h( I .r
assLncd rhc presideucy
ofthe drarractub.ttc tr.r ,1,
r!Ic\ed to cscalcIhe\\.ontcn.s
costuntes
br otr, I ;r

tl

lJu. ,'or,tJ(f.nLhr. pr..selr.rr..rrnr.r


r
,'.,iJ.lJr,irJr\l-( ht., ( ,r \ d lr( h,rdr,,.rJrn ,,1
'"1(r \\,,Uldfr, h,rt\l\|L,kJ,tr! h(\r ,r.,rr
.,t .,t,
cot b ck ro Japan.
flrJ h .r, .J\,r r..r tr rr!Ir= \1,,Ikr .
,. ..
unc\pectcdt), Ldwafdcanc ro rhcpub.
Erel] ln lhc cro\\,ded
bn[.Fd\ard sk)(\tL,r
rrnnedrltclylje \rasdrcsscdc suall\
in a rno,. :.,i
d. .rRr \hil l d her!( .t.r,:t, t,rrr
eirrr ., ,rc r..
Irkea mLrdcllioD a nlagaltnc.
Floidinga slmighrscolchin orc hano_ .r r.
n..
up lo SalsUki.
snilir!.
''Whendo vou gct oll.\,"ork.1..
he asKi-o.
l0j00 p m.. S.rtsuki
ans$.cfed.
a brt
,
.
''Lel s go on
,

a darealief.. lhe Lllondsru:-.. .,


\ J,.lc. \.rt.uk....r,,.1i..\c r,,r.

Lld*ardnodded..\tah...
Srtsukitricddcsncrrtchto rccallrhen.rr irj,il

A Promise Ol Romancc

'ls

uas usual))$ hc')l$ o Io\ (r' dc'ided'rrr


de word.A date
Wa\ lher( \unl.j olher Dlc'lllln!
adayrndtime to mtel
sayq
$ nr'n(onlL'one
,n JaPan.
Forexample.
'Lefs havetea," it meansiustthat But in En8land.
thenesningofwords changesdcpcndingo'l the social
classofthe speakerPeoplein iriddle classand above
"Let s have lea lo meantlle ob\.iolls. l-ct s
undotstlnd
drinktea,"like in Japan.I3ut tbr the working-classit
goingout !o dinner.When Satsukihad been
means
irvitedto tea by an Englishfiiend. he hadn t been surc
iitheymeantactualtea or dinner.
Somaybetherewas anr)lhcrmeaningto thc
word"date"thal Satsukididn t knd\. Or $as Edu afd
makingajoke? Unablc to reacha dccisiLrn.he sinlplt
agreed.
wl)en he was done \\ ith work. he left Lrc olr
wrthEdward.
"Actually, t h.rvent ealendinDer)et. Ldward
..Haveyou
rernarked.
l..
"I only ale a lit|lc bil bcfore$ork. ' Satsuki
IePliedHer.rasn
r hrrrc Ir hal bcrn' r h,rrr,.'n,.
he'deaten
"Do )ou qarrtr,.qr,l.Jii 1,,tjt\ nlJ('Ltul
._
dutner?'Edward
oflercd
Satsukinodded.He couldre\ef get to sleepoD
- ehpty
an
stomach.Hc *..rs|.t goinr t0 rurr down an
opPortunity
for fotrctAntl hc rroLrli bc lrinc r1hc sard
E wasnt intrre<red
rn ertr'r drr,(f r' r r()l-rrr.r. .
oolse_
.wqled Thel harledu c"h r Pr((J(lr'l\r rrcu.:rrJ
for Edwards xoartnrcrt
Ihe spaci,'u,r,,,,r',rr.r. ,rs.rlnar, rjr,,, u,.r

50

Krokolk t\t

A PromiseOfRonlancc

lhc signsolljle Il was like a ruin.


''Whcrcs Mr Oakte!'l Satsukiaskrd
''llc s gol a lot ol'\\ork. Fd\rardexph r
I
''Apparently.
he can l spcndall his tirrreNith Inf
''LordA'.(yle " Sarsukisloppedas h. I
lo sa\,Edwards nanrc.Thc nau)con thc cafdlil,
hadgi\cn hrm uas lirr too lons andSalsukr*rj .
$hal to call hinr
''Thclcs no ncedtbr laminlilies.call nrl
l-drrard. the blonds.rid rotieiDgS.rlsuki.sdr\rrr..
''Do,'"ouliv!'hereall.rtonc Udr&d, \ ,Ll
rrlqulred.
''Yeah. L.dr.rfdfepti!d.
''I thoughlansrocrats
hid nriircser-,,arrr..
S.rtsLrki
.onrnrcntcd
''Thcrcarecnouchbrrk il nr) cslnrelrj rii ,l
)'onsrck. hd\,'ardsaid.
''Youha!c anotherhouscbcsidesthis.) \: .Ll
I d\JrJ J:|l!'r(d

trD,,r\I.\hi(h

..

Satsukiskred.
Ftiuard s bluec1cs.trkegti cringctas\.n. .
ll\ed in his dcepl,\car\edlace.Hc nr,l.crlsrlan,.:.
r li,
didn-lseclnhunrrD.
SatsukiLrndcfstood
,r liIlc bcttcr\\.h\ flLr .,ll
hitLirallcdrhc nlana tod.
''l ll be righl hack. Fil\ a|(jsllidsu(ldc|\ l.
clrsrpp!'ared.
Icn\irg Satsukiin thc siltiDgr(mnr
Salsukilookedaround.The roonru,asp,ur1.
lrl Iof rlssrze.andso thc \r'holeplac,r$as drnr.t r.r;rc,l

5l

lhc sall' Sal'rrl'i\Ino$l(dpc


decoraled
raintirgs
picce
hur
ifat waslimired. herer''Fni/(dirChdgcll
o
l
a
ll
lh
e
lL u a . p ro b rh ly rc dAl n d
a n o ntgh e m.

furtrituelookedlikc anliquesolsoolc vahle He almosl


feltar ilhe hadwandercdinlo an art mLlseunbt.
mistake.
Edwardrcapperrcdilier a \thile
"Diflner's rcady. hc ilnnounced-Conrc rrlr)
thediningroom. '
The largetablc was covered$ith a whrlc tablc
clothanda candleburned in a srh,e|candlestick.rrhich
wassetin the centeroi the lable.The ambrrnccwas
exceptonat.
Butthc selcclionsprcadoul on lhc labl!'$is
Imited-only5pJBll(lli$ rrlrr)(.tl ..r',c(..n(i$ rrL
Satsuki
wasn'tsureif he shouldcol]lnte|t on the
unexpe{ted
sin}plici!"olth!'nrealor not.He.h()scro
rglorc il.
'?dda*rrarx.- he s.ridin Jtprneseand picked
uphislo*.
"What was tllafl Ed\ard asked.nrakrnga
strangeface.
"lt's sornerhinr
.lanrn(reDc,,nl(sir! bcfore
.
heYeat,' sarsrki pl;in.:d.
c\
"lladakinrasu.the'n."Ed$.ardchecrlu1|!
puoled
Sar"uk
i , pro rncrarr,,
Satsuki
l.oIldn l s.l\ rhr. brr hcarrntI hl,,rrr]
.Iorti&er
speaking
Japnn... *ai.' r',rr,t. r..t'ns.
,ne
spagheftiwasDt goodenoughlo conrplincnt
_rlc
ooodlesweretoo
soft andthe saucetastedlike it hr
& outof acan-But lhe \liDe $as extraordiiary.

5l

Of Ronrrncc
A Prorrise

Clancin!!ar the label.Satsuklsll\\,ihal I ,.i.


quitcold. Ile rcgrerlcdhavinednrnkit so qui.f,t\
llL
$ould probablynevert stcrn)1hingsosophr\tL!
rrL
aqarnin his wholc liti.Fd\rrL
''I rr glad
. L
r-'oudecidcdro conte.
\lll(ll lhi ttt(fl1 $r\

tr\!1.

Tf ( f ( .

5l

.ndcJ rrl $irllinf lh(re lo!ellr(r'


ier|rd station.and lhe}
colJ(rl
lhe
It was
lar | ,.t Fcbnlan Thcr
up imrnediatcl}.and lell into a naturalsilencc
sob{rd
Satsukididn t feel lhal hc could broachlhe
subjectofthe job

n. , t l n! qr , .

dull asc:rringrlonr " Alier hc d rcachedadullh,r


,
hid nevcreatcnwilh ar) ofhis schooliiierrdsrr .,t
NN illc
''!v!'r\one s hus\'\\ ith lherr$ ofk crccl,r r.
don t ha\c ajoh. BLtlthel d(jn l hr\c lilne ro (,,r.. .Lf
Dre. he conlcsscd
alm()stshvl!.
Ir \rasn l a tackof iobsrh.llkcpl hiDrllL r,.
\orktn!. though.Rtlhcr.lhcrd$as Donccurot I rl
wofk rhtnksto lhc inherilancc
lionr his pnrents
Pr,,hrl.l1drrcr ,. rhcrneir\ rl rhe\\ llr .
v\as in hilh spirilsandlalkcd\ ith Fd\\ardarrour ,
schooldals.aboul.lapaD.
andaboula thousan(l,,Lri-l
thrngs.Ile thoughrthathi\ Fngljshlnusthrrc [,.r \r,
strlted.andhc hadditlicullyunderstaDdrnt
Ld$r,. .
slollcs.bul lhe bbrrd seemcd\cry i|tcresteorno
lr\teIcdattcnli\cly.
The man\\rs acliDgcornplelel)'.
dift.crefi
tfonrrhc llrsttinrether'd |rlet.lle \ as bein! a riL,,
''( an I i|\ ilc \ru backsolrtslintc..)..
he r\r ,
Sarsukir(rddcd.
Fd$.rrdsniled. lookingt rt\ glad H! tr.L,
ob\'rously
bcenreall! borcdbelore.
Satsuki$irnted10lea\c in tinrelo carchrhf irii
sulr$a\trailr l lis hostin\istcdon seetn{hjnto1l.rL L.

Edwardbo ghl Salsukls sub\\'avtickel $h.n


thyreachedthe slalion.
Thesubjecloflhc lob hadr't comeup oncc
duingtheirdinner Salsukiwoffied that nrxlbc Ed\\ard
hadalteadyfound sonrebod)'else.
"By the \\a!. lhat lhing )_ounlrnlioncd lasl
titne...I'm
willing to ll1 rt, hc slid impulsivel]as the)
vereaboutto part.
But maybethe $hole thing had be,-na joke.
Asaffoodof$onics ruslrcdthfoughSatsuki-s
nnnd.
EdwaJd
ernbracedhinr.
"That'su,tnrdeirl. rhcblondnranwhispercd.
"Uh." Satsnki\lasn-tusedto beinghugged
.
ulpublic.lt was sonlesmall contbrt that therc ttas
n0oDelDthe stationthis late at nreht.Orherwisc.hc
Diobably
would have shoverlEdularclruav fiom sheer
eltlbinassment
") m so pbd hr'\oLr ( J(i(trnq nr\ ,,ller.'
qward
".
said Hc ro^l ,,H thc hl,r( JrarnonJfln! tiorl
qriDg6nsei
'takc
tr(.nntrnu(d.. rttrn{ rh(
'tlr..
'"6ollsalsuki\ fiI!(r.o
<, rl\ Tlrellh!.1,{.p(J r\cqge[ y
pla(.ed
x kr.,,,r, th( n.r'jl,,t \Jl\ukr', h. ,J
It was like a sccneirr a pla,"-.
Satsukifelr hi\ lhccblushingbrighired.

rl

llc ferll\ so|l(l rrc \c r !e l L L 5 ctr)


d l J l r\
\rLI\Lrh
r'\ |rh(ir).| l rr]!.L l n ro \ll h a n tL )n t.r
lrrrr. ll \ irsl-(l\xrl
'LJLlr,tLtnrtkc rr l ro r..rl | | c h 1 ) l h .
i rq L r rri l
' ' \ eLr h 1r . r c p i tri
l nr _- hLlr , , lr c u r " I (ttrJ r{ t\.u J
\ lr ! r . r l l|\ ir fl r\Ir{ l l L ,Ic | rrl (.
! (i rrrrl r\ hc i! r n! lho\ c \\,,rrl , \l Ic (l Si | l \ri k .
\ \ o lt l \ ( , u lr k . rt, t1 .r\!.l rn r).ri rg i r
t orn L ,rr L, u
' ldu. r r d ur k r,rl
\ir t . k r r f t . l1c d l h c rn \ r:rl r(j n!rrfrt,L r.
T,'l r('| r,r\ \ r \ l. r ldr \ l | (i . \ rth 0 U r\rl r(j o t ttr. L l
' .,
.t . (
\ | , t..r l rr (
: . . , t . r . t,,rt
' l l lc r r c c ur h l i rn r rro rk . tr,:
It,n r..
lis r de\ . \ ilr \ uk r \\ i r5 In rIL rl rc nl (, h r.rl
d cl l rl s ()l t lr e t oh ( \ l] c f . \o $ l r\ \ i ,u l d h c rc l .. ..

S lt lLr k i dc c idc ( tl (, \k rp s ()rk th .j ,rc \r | .


Ncn l \l fl r r ht l| |d\ |r d s i tfrrtIre | l t rti c r \fh ,,L ,
t ioo rn ra r r c r r c nr hc r r ' dlrrn rrn d l c i t)rrnrn d i r(.1 1 .
|usscd th m U{ h lhc ht \ r c l l i k r l o l .b r rrrd s e rrr rrt,
liJth fi rx)l
l- ii\ . t |d r f t c r lr rd . \| | trn r l .
S ]1 tt\ I ,,
rr\rr" h f t\ c li |lr c ll
l lr l. ( i S r r ! 1r Lil (, rl rc :rl l rrrr r(rj rn :rn rl ,,
hrs \r\rl {r ir r lr iI l S lt \ L rk rl \[.J l i rr I b e c ] i rrr
rl h f a sl c d ii) r $r lr . lr r $ o ri t(t l r. s c r\c (t l J n r.L ,
( , L i rfrg .o ! r \ c \ nr nj\ c i !rr,r L (i \l rd h l (l l ,!.
( 1 rIrrrn trb r an( l\ b. li' r ( S .rr\tl k rt| -r\.(l

,.

'.'
+

t"
)
/

56

K|oko ,tkits

''Nevillecalleda lillle $,hilcagoandsr ,


he hcrcshortl),.theblondsaid Oncehe gcts I
\rc ll all go to a Chincscrcstauranl.Salsukt.cnlembcrcd
Nc!illc s adnxrfri,,
1()not gcl rn\olved$ith E(hrardarrdlelt a lill lr
-ShoLrld
I rclll\ go aldrg \\hen liicna
\ours rs conlinsto sccvoul) be \\'antcdl()krxr\
''.)t i.,,rr.(. 1 Jsrfd r!tJi(d . r.:l
fiicnd.Tbercs no necdlo $onn lbout tbnnalli,, r i
hiln'
Salsukih.ldno choicebut lo acclLricsr.
''Oh.do you havclhe ringl [dward irtr..
takingSarsuki's
hand.
''| kcepir in nrv pockcl Satsukiha.|,
.
oul lhc chainuilh thc ring on il. 1 d tjkc ro !r\. I .,r,
lo you.rctually.I ln ailiiid I Inighlloseil '
''Is il too big fbr]ou't F.d$ardinqUir!.,tI
gcl it adjustcd."
He scenred
not to havcheardSatsukix1.l
''Do I haveto uc itl Satsukiaskcd.
''Ol coursc.WheDc\ervou re jn publ t
Fd\,!ardlaughcd"lt s the synlholofa tlancee(' lrl
ALqllc lnlnil).'
SalsukililldizT) Bur lrc na.n t ab,.,'rr, .
','
.t'loq. I d\\ rlJ Jrdn I ..(rr r,. t,..,! hur t,t. ,
tho shl. hut thc nan $as delinilclv\nanlc.
\c\ille arri!edaticr thrsexchangc
Iin a nroment-hc lookcdsuryriscdlo.t.
Satsuki.bul he quickll lecorcr.etl
hjs irrnrc snrr. ','
you got rn!olvr-d\\ iih h'ur ,t,.r o,,. n. ."'n ,,,,,

OfRornance
A Promise

57

'
m strcallylikehim Ma)

goinSlo h<llalrng I I'z.rfrotn


"satsukr's
.MyFairLady,'andl'll be ProGs\orHigSins.'
thatmakcsyou Colonel
Edwuddeclared"l suppose

Picke.iig'"
to betrulv enjoyinghimsell.
Heseemed
AudreyHepburn.thepixic ofthe sllve.scrcen.
in lhemovie"My FairLad) anditbecanreonc
sarrsd
olhrmostfamousfi1ms.Shcplaycda llorer selleriD
Gardenwho becanca relirredladyunderlhc
Covent
J rirrg-rn.
of Prol'e\.or
lligein5.
$idance
"Well,if wc rc rc enactingthemo\ ic. ho\r
about
a littlewager.Protessofl'Ne\illc said.gclting
canied
away,too. 'Elizahadsi\ nionlhsto beconte
a
lady,
buthowlongdo you hrrc, M.rt-l'
"Six nronthsrsa u,alkiDlhc
Edwardshrugged.
Fo*-Wehavethreemonthsto breakup theold nlans
scheme
beforetheengagetnent
parr),.'
"You'retellingnrethat May lvill bc starrding
,
byyoursidearthecngalc r(nl
lit ) il Il) d( Part
noblinKnighl\birJer
in lhrc(rn.'nrh\l \c\rttcd,t(J
ulqedulously.
'.whalexacrlydo I havek) do.t..sarsuki
.
burted
ln_'

Allyou ha\i ro do,s b( nr\ h.r.\(e. I dsJrd


(
:rd',"That\rol hrrd )tr\c, Ar $( Jr...r,(,1 bct,,ri.
':" u 0epaid.1(r0
noundid Ll.r\.I ll 5l.rr rod.r\ | |
ley a clorhrngallou,rrL< ro gtr r,,rr,* ,er up. .o
fl
{ r worryabout
thar..
"Wait
jusr
\it.Il (neJ ,,ur. l\,
a rrr11rut(,
*.
.{'&ow
bo$ man\ da\ , rlr..rci'( h..ru.an ro,\ .,rd
.

-lr58

Ki oko tkits

Mii'l And | $on t be ablero pal,you bacliit

A PromiseOl_Romance
1t .\r .

''May is righr.' Nevillesaid. .MakrrSu ,


cortract $ould be hcrferiir both of),ou '
Iirs \'"ordsreassurcd
Satsuki.Ihefc$rr. . r.:
thingslhrl Ed$ardcouldnt reallvundefstano.
, .
Ne\illc $ls a joum.rlistand hadconnnons!rr..
''.{11rrghi. [drifd.orccdcd...We Lrr
rr ri',r.,rr^s l \cn h',,r!hI d bc lupf') ru r..lJ .
to Dorsettlod v it il neant I couldstoplhe ol(l , .l
''I)on_tbe so hrstr. Nc!ille said. .l rh . \T.r,
''I nr goingto bc.el)rngon
loul hclp.
Nevrllc. Ldrard srid scridrslv._lhcDthe nrisrr . . , .
lbnt fctumrdrc his evcs.'Or shouldI say ! ol,, .
Pickcringl'
His liieDdshrugged.An)\\'a!: lhclhi| :,LIL
no\\'rs hu\c dinncr.W can$ork out thc planl.rl.
N{)onc coDtr.adictcd
this.
Ercn rn England.shcre thc fiod is |epr'.Llr
be so bad.rclati\ely go(d Chi,r"t. f.rod
b. ,,,u,.,
""n
It e\pcnsrvercslauralttsplacesSatsuki
coul(l, rrl\
drcamaboulIn his penrrilcss
siate.The thrccxl. .r: ,dcal belorclcavirrgthc restaur.tnt

Th!'nc)itDroming.Satsuki\ras{okri) | i. ').
call lionr Ldward.The contracrhadbecndfr\\ rrI 1 .rril
the man$antcdSalsuklto conteas soonas hc r,,Lr{L
lhe hlondsoundcdunusLrtlly
e\citcd.
Thc cbck saidit $as only 8:0i)aln Srl'LrIl
\-

$,ouldhaveliked to sleepin sincetherewas no school.


butodcehe was up. he could nevergo back to slcep.IIc
gaveup andgol out ofbed to gel dressed.Then he took
lhesubwayto Edward'saparlnrentThe man appeared
\rhenhe pressedthe bell outsidcthe door on the lifth
f,oor.
"Come in. Salsuki. Ldlvafd pur a hand on
shouldersand {ave hirn a quick kiss on the
Satsuki's
chek.
ll wasa comnlongc\lllr( irr I nslarrd.
n,'ljrr+
betwen
lovers.But Satsukiwas nor at all usedh it.
Bul asifdemandinga kiss in rctum. ldward presenlcd
tusollrl cheeklo Satsukr.and h!'was tbrccd io comply.
Entering
the sitringK\)n. he sa$ Nc\ill.l)ring
0nthesofa.The man $ras*caring the santeclorncsas
lastoight-he must havc shred Ge nrghr.
"Neville, Satsuki'shcrc. Ldwrrd s.rid.( sing
.
hlm_
"Hercsosoun.' \(\rll(.tr(lchcd ir\ h( \il up.
...,...I o llke a cup ofcotTce.\\
hcrr's rhe nrctdt)
..lt's
..1
herdavot...Edwardexolained.
s\poseI'll
haveto make il nlscll. - He disappeared
rDtothe kitchen
"Coodmomrng. s:rl.Ikr tr<cted\e\ illr,
_.
'ulPosing
thereua, no nccdrt,1,,,.rn,_tcmbrrt<
nrrrr
ne
musl
hlrvc
li,rc(d
t,'
Lon(
h(rc
tl|r.
."",]nu
--'t ..the rhan
remcrkcd
Satsukinoddcd.
r q p p L ' L , J \ \ r . r r *u r , ' r *r r r n g o r d e r s '
h . - -rrau
,-addF'l

g1*;i"J;"'iiil

dont thirrk
abot'I
th' tro'Ihr'

6lt

K|ako.,lkitslt

''It certainlvscemslhatwar:..SatsLrkr
,,:rrr,1
''Ifyou \,,rant
out. now s the ttntclo ,.r. , , .,
Ineantnglul
s ilc crosscdNcrille.sihc..
''YoLrlried lo stop ntc bctbre.too...S.|,
r, ,l
''Whyl''
.llccauscyou.r!
Ihe ntanshruggcd.
!, !i,
bcconrea plairlhingli)r rherich.'
''Bur I ncednoncv...Sarsukisaid.. I lr ,,1
\en \cJl rrnredliJrnre.'
''then theres norhingI cxn do. .Nc\
''Nothing
i'ou cando aboulrllal.) l .j:.. Ll
tuskrdas he fcipp!'ared.
''I rvasrskinc l\lat ifhe \as rcadr r,rr, ,,
\evrJlcstoodup .lndbroughto\er a burdlc (,r ,. .,.r.
Uonri trbl!-.*This is \,ourco|rtracl..
''l1s preflvthick. SnlsLrki
cotnnrerrlrl
llc hadbelrnrhc olle(r ask Ibr clarri..r .,,.,,
no$ thattheJob\\'asbeconingrcal.he $r\ !.1
! ,
lIllle intinridated.
''Ii s.tustlin.fcrssurancc.
We didn.rucr
.r.rur, .J\\ef ,,, rrJkc l. \J\,lr. ..rd .fr..:; ,
SatsukipickedUpa farl ot rt xnd lootf, rr
o\ cr. hul rouldn t t)rakcheadsor tailsol_it
Nc\ rllc sa\r SrtsLrki
s dislrcssand.\|t., r.,
'''Ilrclirstpartis lhc prclirccIr.s
ehock_llll(\i , ri
lcfnrs.but don tbe lo()sclfcd.Thc restol il (1f.,i,,c.
th!'tobduticsandpav.Thc,nnsl irnporla,)t
r)l .
the.iobduties I,irsrot al theduticsrs thil \orr
acl irsl.dsa lstirncec. ).Je\trslhar],ou.lll|tr..r,

A PromiscOfRomance

ol

p.,rn In \4'r! ro h< k(ornr/(d h\


atrhed8pgemenl
lhe hnalobr(jll\(' l' rr'r\( a rrrrrrrdle
.veryote.And
wi6in the Year
'A mamagel: sdl.trl'r'h, utrJ rrr.urPrr'e
*Are you a practicingChrislian.Satsuki.)"
Edwaldaskedwith concetn
"No,I m a Buddhist. Salsukireplied.
Actually,he was an alheist.bul li)rcrgltcrs
didn'trcallyunderstandthal. so he had prcprrcd lhis
esponse.
"Thenthats nol r problcnl. Ed$ardsaid$ ith
relief.
Neville grinned. Yeah.That wa,\dre brggest
obstacle,
but you being Buddhisl knocks it oul ol oLrf
"wllal do you meanthere s no problenrl_'
sahuki
stillseemedto ha\e quilc a tilv problcnrs.I hc
engagement
party wasr't so bad-but no\\' lhy wanred
aEadage.
"You'renot goingio tell us thatyou caDt lie in
.
cnlrrch,
evenlhoush vou're not a C,hristian] Nc\illc
asked.
Satsuki
couldonly shakehis head.
Nerille
g,,rngr,' s,, ,,r d
conrrn,rerl\
.
',rr'r'c
mDeYnroon
allcr theued,jrrrc\,,,r,arr i'r.rpr.r.n,l
'uEo.though
You \c cfl rour,iho.,l rrh.rlulr ro
.oosidei.
bo. Ue ll ln l,, rlrr. flrr,rr.J\,,rr \:,! rl.,,r\ .,.
'uuh asposstble,.
It seemed
rhcr..trc\orLrJJ\dl\utr.\ ,r.rr< l\,
r-

rECE !h--r,

L-.+Euurng \cho,,l l.t t \(,rrlr sr\n l.,,rnnl(t(l!


'q&red.

-IF
(Jf Romance
A Pronrisc

61
''ln themiddleoflhe honeyDtoon.N!r

(
wr''rton. _!..ou
ll havea fightandgcl a di\orr( , ,L
thatwill be thc cndofyour rolc.yoLrtwo \,,r \L , rr r
tirs. Evcn tl vou seeeachotherin the strct,t.
r,r: .,
likc slrangers.
This is so lhat Fdwards malr,":. I I
clrscovercd
to be a shamaft"-rthe pltn s b(,cr.,. ,:11
''lD tho l lu\( ltin dt ttr( a
i I
t\) li,

6l

And_a10.000potrndh,nru'un''rl
endofse contratl
ol the Plan
complehon
sucassfiil
thrcc
monthsuniil the engagentent
Therwere
Thatworked out to quite a largeamounl bv thc
pady.
!d Srtsukibega'llo ttar the huge anx)unlofmonc)
hewooldhavewhen it ras 3ll over Hc alDroslfelt Iike
hewrsassistingin a crinre He probablywouldrl l itrst
gelawayscott-freeifthey $ere caught.
"And ifsomethinggoeswrongl- hc askcd.
Nevillehadlhe answer10thatloo."in cases
ofilhessor other una\'oidablccircumsranccs.
or itthe
pltnis interruptedblr a third pnq. lhc balancceamed
sofrr will be paid to you. Ilut ilyou delrberatel)
sabotage
the plan. you \\ill pa,\ ba.k a perccnlageoflhc
noneyto Lord Argyle '
"Deliberatel)'5abotagcrfl Srlsuki cchocd.
coDilsd.

c.rt,rrIra!"rcd. H( li"(d rhJrrtr(f( ,


tiriLrcobligalionsNo nraltcrq,hathaplencu.f, .,{:ti
be ablclo finishschoolin thfccvcarsandito h.,. L,
Japan.Iie didn l scean! prcblcD1s.
''No\\'.$hile rhcplanis in eftecr.LorJ I rr :
hasonc'rcquesr
ol .-ou."Nevilleadded
''Whals thrt.) Sarsukiasked.
''[lc $ antslou to stavin rherlpal1rrl.r]l
,.ll
hirr. $as thc repl)
''Whafl he cricdout.
Nevillenoddcd. Ycs.lor cxample.sellilrg
^
rnbnnation
''Il wouldbe a lol ol trouble10call \,jrL.r . rirl
aboutthe plao lo tbc nrediais a \ iolati()n
ofthecontract.Ifyou do ii ght.
\rry hcrccrery llmc hc nccded)or li)r sotrctl]l
)ou could mflkc nrorc
rha!LordArgyls paying you...
Nc\ ille poinlcdout.
is
"Aren l
''But... SalsukrcouldDl thiDkot-h\," ,
)ou pa nr tlr( l|rJurr.\(\ rll(.
.abrki
asked
rcsfo,rd.lle couklnt picturehinrselflir ing $ i,
NevillenodJedd-irn Y<..l!rt rt I lcirl $r,r d
I ds:rd lh.r lr.,dl'..r nhorJi,r\t h.rdtr\(.t ,r,
0llhis,ltakeon
dititfcnt placcs.And lhe blond*as a nobtflri,f i rJrl
rhr r..p,.r\rt\rlrr),,rl\d\jIr !i,r.
EvQifrny
\orlds uefejLrslloo dlllcrcnl.
Iucl cr rr run,.,_r
n,.u,t.t.t *.,,rt.1r,r t,,,r.
a{liodofmunc}.,rJ^I
''I|\ou calrt rns\'.crIishr a\ur_ r,"..,.
lu'
r $r,fl1.rt\,r..r
r.,c.l-I\l
oqt'!you
,
.
.,.i,1(ll,r rlr( rrr,,I, 1,J Jr.(U.. , f t.,, \
Srve;r( ltr" hL.l .c.rr.rrll.(.r'.-'r!.nr.nl
iurncda pa{c o\er. Thfcc huDdfcdpoundst,( .",..
::'J andweddille..C d n\ h( r., rt \ r(s r||i. rhc
pardc\eL1dr\ lion thc siqnllr!ol ihc rontlr.r \ ]
crpcnses\ill bcprr(l ht LordAf.q\leu|Lr ir.'
-""out
L-4

rlr""rlr
\"\
ffi.T:'"*'.'|',,1':tl'""''r',''

61

K.\'oko,lkitsu

-Whal iftheplan iailsbccause


I don t.,,,\!
enoushto convincepcople'l Satsukiwantedlt, . , ,\
''l d rrrhernot lhink aboulir. Ne\ ,,1
_l t in
ns\vered.
thatcase.the conlraclis lil, , I h
vou r\'olr'trccct!ean)colnpcDsation.
eilhef.s,, .\LI
bcsl\\'orkso lharlhai doesnt happen.Ofcour\. ri
do ull $e canlo heip.An)'thingelscl
SalsLrki
shookhis hcad.
Ne\illc l.rcedhrsIjjcnd 'And ho\ lh, i \ r.
Edwardl'
''Asrdclioln thequcsti()n
ofuhcrf sln,... n
lrve.nothing- thc blondreplicd.
_Surely
vou don t ittcnd to lbrcc N.Lr\ .t.rl
hercagarnst
hr! u illl - N.. ille crt'r."dout th.,.,.,,.
contelninglir ing arrangenents
in lhe docurrrr,.
''Lel sjust renn)\ethisclause.We canthrnkab,,., I
agair il $c discovefan) problenrs
oncr \\'c \c .i. rl.r
Ed\\'ardscemeddispleased.
bul c\c|lrL.t\
agfecd.
'''Ihensign.' Nevrllesaid.
Salsukinoddcd.He wouldnt back(J r 1.ri
ha\'lngcoDe so l'ar.
''Theconlrxcts bccnlimaliTed
andagr!f'lrrfir
by all partics. Nevillesaidoncciill threeha(i,r,rfnl
''I-m gladthal weDtwcll. Il *ould hi\e becr rL1,,1
rorsc with a \\'olnan.We plrbrbl\ woukl hr\f rrrllt'
\{flle clauscspfotectingherr.trtLtc.
-Ner illc. pleasc. [duafd nndea t-r.f ,,
disiaste.
''Sorr). Nevr1lcsaid. I gor carricdrslr '\dl
oU lrtlleiokes.But thc signingoflhe corrtr!r1i,r l'l'rl

A PronriscOf Rornancc

65

d(rnt \orr lhink''


aliElecelebration.
_Youre ahct lhal r inc I lol lr\l $ e(l'. drenI
you?'Edwardlaughed.his good nlood recolered
'
"I suream.'Ncville agfeed. I hearil\ a pretlv
goodvintage."
"Well. help yourselfto it. his tiiend otlered.
"l'm goingto take Satsukishopping '
SatsulieyedEd$afdsuspicrousl!.Shopprngl
what?"
For
"Clothesand bagsand shoes.outfitlnrg you
ftomheadto toc." Edtrard rcplicd.
"wly?" Salsukiasked.
"Well. ifyou havc 1-our otrn drcsscs.I supposc
ldon'tneedto." Edwardsaid.his voic('wt'1.
"Bul righl no$rl Satsukrprotested.
"Yes," Edwardansweredtirmly.
"That'spartofeamingyour l(X)poundsn da).
^ to
rJet
it" Neville wavcd to sd\Iki
"Nevillet"
Bul lhe cn .c<rrrrrrulr
till L,rdeit(ar! J!
Neville
disappeared
inr,,rn! krtehcn

EdwardbrouLlht
llnt lL,ltond \trecl. s tl(r(
.
designer
'aqons
shops,r.N ael rtrr.rrerr-rr,,r,rt tr<

l$l.v.*.; "";;*:li" rr",""


i.* ,." .",r.,,.r
'.rDclrive
the
shop.
.r'
utr\
*erc
$cr(
priJrctt
l.t,,nd
.l
' no nl
lt,t
tr(
"
r!
\n(u ,,1,<r
th! ,
qqooi !oone
" | c,
ol l he5c.rur(\. l l JtJn l .(erl tt(
q& dof
pl ace S ar.rrkri outo i rr(r rcr!(d rt .l r!

ilili::il1:
H:''il-;Edward
"'lll::,:1i;.:ll.,
pushing
inn)
starled
Satsuki

Ol Romance
A Promise

lhc slore.obliviousro his hcsirdli()n.


Satsulr\ .r\.,i
up hrscouraqeandlvenlin. andrll lhe salcs., .l
turncd1()\,"ard
thcnliD unisor).
Fouror filc r.",.,,, lli
rnrnrcdratelv
galhcrcd rouDd!dsard.
''Lord,{fgylcl'
''Whalcan!rc do fbr vou todav'?
''\[! tuslgol e shipnrerrofrhingsyt'L
''I cinle to bn\ sonteclothcslor nl\ lr\tr J,t
hcre. Fd\r,ard
said. wtnkinqar Satsuki.It \trr .. Lh!
pcrlornrance
hadbesun.
All (rt thc salesladi!'s
bcgancon4rlirr .L
Satsuki.
''Well.$hat.r s$eer,loL'kirg
grt '
\\ lrnrr(JUt,lUlntr, l llrrr llrd r\r.
''And surh lovd) skin.'
Satsukians$eredthcirpraise$ith
r.r_ i. :
he spokecarelessl).
thejig rrlightbe up
''Whatarc)ou lookingib,',",,,r"* u,,., ,*",
''Evcrylhing.Edq'ardtcplicdde(i\i\| \
''E\ erlthingin thc srorethalsuilsher.'
SatsukigaspedWhcn lhey hadlir\l
rr ri"
',,
the storc.hc hadglanccdat the tagon rn ourtri , rit'
windon.Il wasequalto all the nroncl,hc usL.rl. .1.'::l
tor threemonihs.
Ihc *lnnarrb.t|lned lhalsthcLor,l \L:lllr
\( k h\\ | \(r\rhr|u srllhe rerrJrrrrr rr ,r
Ilseemedthalthe$'onlcn!rereLr.crlr,,it,,'
sortolthing and.smilingchecriull).thc! dr!f. *'r
-l
into thc sl(neseafchiDg
for thingsthanrouliJ1,"'k!'"'
on SatsukiAnd beiofe\ery long.thcy hra rurr".ttr' ,
T.

67

c) inrmcdrrlclt
ofclolhe' in lronl "i hrnr_T1
moutrlaro
flller
unolh!'r
one
choice'
oar|&dtheir
'
'"Thisbag is very populrr' we only halc onc
lefti! stock It would look perl-ecton )ou miss"
"And this coar' . '
Satsukiwas easily bored nift b l hc suftered
with s'nile lfi('r snlilc. whcn thcltheprsentations
.tn lnnlirl ofclolb(-s and closed
he
took
hadfioished,
hinslfotrin a rrtinoredchangirg room.
hadrcatcd Saisukilikc
Thesaleswomen
pcoplc look qurtevoung lo
hewasa child. JapanL-sc
Westetlers
and he lookcd likc a pre{eer to then. The}
badprobably
told the'Isel\es thal rhai was $rhy he had
n0Drasts.
He changedin() a palefrnk skirtsuit.llc
checkd
himselfin tbe nirror lo makc surc Dornrng
looked
suspicious.But hc had no rcasLrn
to t-earHrs
features
we.e
too slight to ever suggesta nrans
lelicate
ltae.Nor was he particulaflytall. CoInparedto Weslenr
vomen,he was smail.
And th.rnksto his neSligencc
lnSltitrg his hair
cut. his lresscsfell to bis shouldcrs
dndulrdebrm
h,ol qutl( girlish I.rrg<..ltarpl\,lanrr.J
elesAcoy
no.c.fr,il lrn! He undehr,.'ua\ \ ctt ir\
inyoleelse
$h) thc olorr .rrulerrr.
lr:rris,' mrrchtrrn
'6&ngbimdressa.,r !.irt in hrghsehool
t,, 'h , !tt,.n,t, t,,1.r-1. .t th,t ! .
*.rurr+ess
-'TolhitL
dSdl,
He lauehed.rl
lllrrrr(rrdt'frri\cl\ flut tr(.r'r rr
,L
*&uror
loot eri bacl r,,t lr
ne caI,( ,rrrl,,1 ll'L (lrr''!r,'! r,,,.r
{*'.
-".,rcn
,5_ 'ales'*umcnh(:rt\'d tl.trr(r\.'r' l,rnr.

n6

Kt:oka.1kit!|

IFF

kno$ lng thcir busiocss\\e11.


''Ho$ do I Jookt Satsukiaskcd
t,rt-.,,(
\nrilrnpbflghtl)
Ld\\'ards c\es $idcnedin sull \r(i ..r,,r,,!.
,be3urriul
..
Iad\'.no doubttbout it..
'l'hrec
hourslatcr.Sat(ukilen thc \rt,r,l
eontpictelv
translorntcdHe notr uolc I etr.tt ._r .,
( r'r f I,lr., ,,l l . d,\\tr rcklr 1,rJ .k,
'
ol.ieans.IIc hadon lcrthcrhrgh-hccle<t
hrr, , , r
srlc'rkcrs.
andcaniedan crpensi\,ebag nJ.
Lrr,.r
I b.aultiirl\ratch
L\er\thtngbc wnsnt \\,carin{\\:l\ \
L,
tid$ard s.rpanllrenr.
Hc rldn t $anr io scnr L . Ln|1.
LonrSo\tn irparlm.ntan\1\a\.bLrl.il hc hr(i.
I ri
hrrrclilled rhc roontconrpletcN.
l;dwafdk)ok Satsukis handas hc rL
la\r. I madca lLlnchrcscrlalto|l'orus ilt I t,,t.... ri
Thc\ 8ol oul ar the fcslaufanlat thr lt :.,1|rr
An omalechandclier
hLnrglion thc r:ir
ccjling.b:rthingtheroom i a r,ibr.anr
gtou I l.
resrauranl
$as rrtcd thc bcstiD l.ondoDlir| liri\l
scr\ica.andambial]c.
A ntan\\1lonlusthavcbec,)the ntr lrr Ll
irPnctfedas sLx)Jl
as rlrel rrri\ed..M] l(rr(i.$.,. \'l
\\ ert lg 1bryou. hc sl(1.
He surdcdthclr kr a spotIr the rc,L.rr
r. r \\ rrr
ln c\ cn bclterview.
Satsuki
\ralkcdrvithhisLirnrlinked$ II
hd\\ard! l{c $as
tcrbe tharclosc.brLtrr
'lluclanr
drsrmcrcd
h||n liorn
hrsinabilr)-ro $alk in hisr.r flr,'r!
I

A Promiseol Romanic

6a

but cveryone
It wasprobablyhjs inragrnation.
il
Inenl
to bestarlng
s@rd
Themaincd pull(dlrr' (luir oJl rorhimdrr,l
stt down He tooka deePbreothandlookecl
Satsuti
once ore,
arcund
wasrlelldressed.No onewas
Everyone
wosintthejerseyoftheir lir\ orilc soccertean like
beydidi. thepubwherehe workcd.
"w1latwill you havc.Satsuki: Edu'ardasked.
oplingthemenu"l dont reallykno$.l ll lctlou orderlir me.'
sahutis!id,comptctely
paralyzed
b-vthe priceshe sa$
lrllhehenu.
Edwardcalledthe$aitero\er andordercddrcir
medskilltully.
Thewinecamefirst.Ld\!arddidn't lik. it alier
uong
e hst,ng.
at|d\o lhc) bruuEhlJnolhcrbonlc
rlvalagoodwine,andtheshccrluxuryofso easily
opeoag
anotherboltleshockedSatsuki.
The
mealwaschilledScottishsalmonandroast
.
becf,
thefoundation
ot all Brirrslr
eoolrng.I ! (n lnougn
foodin eeneral
is.rurr.dr,eustincl
srrrukr
-Entrt
{,r"ov..ed
rhut-yo,,
r,
o.r h.rl\ou ;a\ ro; rrrenr(Jl
r|ase\quistte.
After they had eaten.lhcy wcnl lo a shop on

deSctt
Street
ani oni. nr.,r.borqhr.r eryrhrrgrrrrr,"
-_q' rall'ed
rarrrrohr"rs(lr
nl nl sel r larrd
no ltferirJeJ
t,' \rnj
,rt,,\
.r\
It;Ercrel roeo (r
s -r
l D'alsuli
oppi ng.then.
sr fl rn! 1,,rrul ) ha\( r n. rhL n\o

nanodslo bu) srgs.nrrl(up.rrd$omer'.

h;w
et*.*.
jE

Tbatnight. when they d gol1enback to

_F
A PromiseOf Romancc
hd\lard-sapartnrent.
Salsuki$as feelingplJ\
r
chdngedinlo sornelhing
tancvandpul on s(r|r.irddri
lingcrie.a wig andsomcnakeup.His expcrrr I i\ Lr
cross-drcssing
in the dra a club sas rcall\ !
,!
In h.rnd).qIJ 1,.$rr li rll\ ,\r:Ii'g,'r'('
a|propnatclbf hrsage.Whcn hc *rs 6Drsh.,l.,, i'
Edtard orrccnlrre lockedarntsanduent rr,.L lLr
opefaprcccirl LheRovalOpera.AflcNards. rl .. ,.rJ
djrner at lhc Crfa Royal..r vet_-r
i
okl .est.rurr
r .r
l\.li're ir,'nc1(J i- lh- i,, .( |lrn. hr,l\(
rrllporlant
r cclrn! Plirccandhostto hisloir.r , rfi
Fdwardonccrsain ofdefedan c\l)!.ri.r: i\ rrt
rrrdSatsukialc do\c brc r\t li)r lhe lirrl r|rrf :' \ rii
Ha\ing spcntll)ccnrireda\'!rith F(l\r ,
Satsukilell hc hadnrisiudgcd
lhe n n earlr(i r,l
bloDdt{asnl thebadpersonhc had lirsl th\)LI il
andlhc man||asn l cvenall thalstrangcIlr ]r.rft,li
nltenlitelvto c|er\1hingSatsukisaidand\.rrL i,,
grcatlenclhsto jrrev(-nl
Satsukilionr getting. .1
Ifprcsscdto nanrea laull. Salsuki$(mldr!\ ' :
nraybclrdward\\'astno rich.Durinuthc slr(,ffrri
n)da).Fdwards fieedorn\\ ilh his molc\ hrLli,,i]$LLl
shockedSatsuki.
After the) tinishcddcsserl.a!\rr1.L!,'i itrl
thenrcotTcc
Fd\iardsolcnnlv t(x)kout a rin!. rlrJ
hcir'loom.
''I hirdlhc sile adJustcd
to lit \or ' ll. '\'r
Sitsukr'shandandslrppcdlhc ng ont(,tt lLiri. "hrl
SatsLrkr
slafcilin surlrise.I1fir his r ir)qflr!rr r'..rii'irrl
'l nr troposingxgrirr. tid\LUdslniicd.l1r. ,\ri l

'11

irfonr4ceto shametheprotessi"nal\
'
brcl. n.lrr! lt, !lre. hall(ngc
smrled
satsuki
{'r sohaPPY."
vou. Edwardsaid
"I'm gladil pleascs
squdingSatsuki'shand
Themansayingtheselhingsto hin rvasa
hrr&oEeblond.A woman\urld hr're!tartcddancjng
i[ Sa!g*i'splace.And nraybeil wls tlrclhllll ot the
pulscquickcneda
vinehchaddll|nk.but Satsuki-s
linlgtoo.
Whenthemealentledandlhcy sloodup.
Sahrki
ralized
thattheuiDc hadaltcctedhinr fll(,c
urahehadthought.Conbil]cdwith theunlamilial
shoas,
hebeganto slaggcrand\ras ilt no condrlx)n1r)
vraltvithout
support.IIc aDdEd\\afdIinkedannsoncc
nlorladdlell the restaurxnt.
A brightflashoflighiblindcdSatsnki
andhe
.
ll@dlte soundofa carnera
shutterlvhiffing.lle was
mtrCqtarilystunned.
"Goodevening.
LordArgylc.'a\oicegreered
AwomanaDDeared
a
outofthedrfkness.
qDra
slungarounihel'
\((rrcJ
r,'
bc
rn
\h(
'rect
H",
Yni&30..
h:rir$a\ lr(J br.k
tl$pilyota
"ooo",-..'tureJ
tt.
rlor.
nu
,rkcuo.
\hc $ar aLu urer,ru
qy caually
in slack.rnd r ircier
"Goodercnrn,r.
V. V,,,rrm Srrl .'.Jcdr.:rrr,i
,^
*Jqrwork
asevcr.i,rr. L,js.rr.rsnrilq.jlrr,. u.,

:', : ; ;; '; '; ; r'"'


St
"u"*.
".
i,
',
i.
g\-ffi;i';,'lil.;llll.1

"I'm sorr1.
eLri'ouien-rnt\rcerrr,,h( In .r
tonrghl.llavc \ou hcrrdsLJ|uc
good
sl'
're\\

12

KyokoAkitsu

A Promisc OfRonancc

7l

A dclrberate
snriletwirchcdrcrossher tace JJ( fr!,,
"who was thal wonlan? S.tlsukiasked
lcll on lhe ring on Satsukis iinger. Why-.a l;r:
for a tablo'd.'
"A societypagc.iounlalisl
Satsukitriedri:rhidehis lefi haid, bu hc drJf:r.-,!
h,Lti Edwardanswered
bcendone 'TheAruylelamily rrrgl l)ocs L, . ,,!rr
Fodts or "Frildt
"Like a tepollrr li,
lhar\,ou ve tinalh piekedo c'1"Sheseenrccl
r, l.rr,,\
t .tr@dr?"Satsukialmostasked.shocked.belbre
$ hatlhe ring meant.
nolizingthat Edwardrvouldn t know lje changedhis
''Plcasedon l bc so factlcss.Fd\riIt
'
qleltion."Do things like that happc to \ou ollen l
repnmanded
sofil). l \cJust prLrposed
rodil
"Oncein a \rhile. ld\!rrd said.glancing
Ms. Most!'ntsrnilcd. Wcll congrarLi i r\
highl! suspicious
His answ!'rseeDred
atSat6uki.
Shesalorehgifl Whcl-syour nilne. dcrf )'
yoLrback to louf
wanl
lo
talie
"Sst$ki,l really did
Satsukihesitatcd
thenrcspoltdcd
\
{ielir i
spchent," he said apologcticall\- but !vrll )ou sla\
''Nla).'
wi6meal lhe holel!,,1i!:ll1.
in ( r.( r1nr I(pon(I :'
''l\'ta]l Are you Chrnese?'
w.tching?"
Ed\r'ardcul lhe rooran ofl _l nr lcnr .l\ !,r1
Satsuki
noddcd.lfthey * erc bcrngtlllowcd
trut \c !e coi sontc\i_hefe
rIrdEdward
to bc We must bc -'(r!t! i
droppedhinr ollat his apaftment.the
vou \t"antto do a reallnleniew sonietinte.I Ll.::t\\\l
Epoflerwould easily find oul Salsukis true rdentll).
aadeverytbing
:rnyqueslrons
Younrighlhave.'
would be r)\cr. An!\\'a]. ()moffow rvas
ruoday,
"l apologize.Ms Mostemsaid.birrkr)!
so he didnl needlo go ho c.
dor!n. 8ut thisis wonderfulDc\\'sl d likc lti ,\r Ll
aboutil. ii I may.l ll sendyou a copy.'
''Right. Ed\rardihre$ oul thedisrirr.r..l.Ll
Evenhlallvlhc taxi DullcdtlD ir tiont Lrla \\cllagedluxury hotel.
rcsPonse
andhaileda cabpassjDg
bv lhe rcsrrr'.Lr11
''The llolelClaridgciD Maytair. hc
As thev crossc'dtlrc nrarblefloor unoerIne
'r,l
chaldetier-lil
lo lh,jdrr\ er rhrollshr hc $ Indo$. lhts \\.r. t..
arch(dentri||r,
i I J\.UC fI eJ S:rr.ukl
q [rA
in an embracc
lhe e\pericnceoftaking a Londonla\i. \o h.rl li
"Huh? Satsukis.lucaked
ncgoliatethc dcslination
bclire gettingilr
Beforehe rcutru..J
The drirer nodded-so L,l""rJl"tp.,l
$1.: $ ,.lrint,(|L..
'.,,.L't'
had
"ln. lhengot into lhe taxi himselt.
leaned
do$
r
:,.
lt pl.ciJ :r kr . . on tr. trf.
ils&d
''Ha\ca woDdertirl
e!ening. Thc lorr:.rrr'\rli' T&he.onn"*,r
rh. r,.,,r,. tr1,. \ r,r!,.i t...tr.Lr
hadheardthehotelnanrc.smiledn;eanir)gtir
L\ rslhd . lHJ rDtoh's slrghr[ .,p.r rr,',rrl,rrrJhc---.rn
pr.'r.rfl:
a
rcal
he
nro.
kiss.
thc
6rst
o]rc
erer
lrff'rwas

i.+

F
K\oAo.lkit\u
sal.U\r, JI ( 1,,hr. \(n-i. Jnd t! r,. .,

a\ra\.
'\\'hi]l e ) ou dorngl- Satsukigtru.(L
Fd*rrd. \ipirrg his nroUlhofi $ilh rhc b.rcL,,

-:\

--

1\,t,

''Wt r!'cngagcd.l](i$ardadDx)nishirtI ),
drd \oLrlirrlet thrl I lustproposcdLovou itr r ,
Ro\rll'
Salsukrhid no ans$cfro th.tr Bc Lrl\\ , .
hincic thar$ns\\hrtSatsukihadlod.||,!.. ., !l
l rr')rrrr..rJ\ rJr\ Hr '..,1hc.r ,.rhlr I
haTcJforrthc $ondcrlirltbodand$lne rharlr. .,.1
largoll.^n
wh\ hr !\asthefe
lt was nalumltin rD cnq.lsedco pl. L, -\ L
Nr\ clearl\\rorrg tl) hrvc rellscd.
I lc hunghis head. I n sor'ry"
''[)Lnr'1
look so serious. Fd$irrdgcnLir. *.t
SalsLrki
s li)fchcld.And. lakrn,lS.rlsLrki
s hi kl .r\
rcnt to lhe ch!'ck-indcsk.
'lhc desk
clerkhadonlv to secF(h\ur: . r,,
helirrcsilenll)ffodLrcing
a ke) Satsukiu rrnd. . lr,\,
Lrl
man\ otheflo\crs F.d$ardhaLlbroughl
hcrr bf,
l'. n.1i rh( -.,nJ. ,,okirr.trjj\ll) t:rt. I.
"
lnLrslhr\c lookedlikurfelLtctrntyoUnlr! l,,rr r. r'
nrghl.
ll)r rNnr sx\. as onenri"hr Inr".rl
\urlc lhc rrnnrarulatc
\p"." qr"oA ou, t'..f1,r. ,, ,,
highlrghrcd
h\ lu\uriousdcroratron\.
lthr hir,r,,
tl t..r,lrhr.r t,' l,l\..rJ ..,t\ Ir'r'. \.,r.,r1
ha\c b.cn alirid t()L'\cnstcpinrorherrnnr
lJ',r,1,,rJ,"(,1.\.,r(t,$t .N.\ tr,j, | .

[\,\.\'\.}

1$?

.t.

,,

u:

;'rli

'+>^,

-TF(lf Rontancc
A Prornrsc
'-Todaylnusihavebeentiring, hc c.rjL
;. !i
Hc noddedat thc king sizebcd.and\., ,.ri.r,,.
,j.,'\
D .,,ulLlh(lt) h I trke o hr ,
-'the
''I m som Ididn t acl bctlcr. SatsLrkr
.\ L\
dc'tected.
Ii)r sornc(Jne
\r ho Nantcdto lt a t,tr,nd.
hc haddonea rrisc'rable
job.
''Nol rt all. you drd glcat Ed*.rrrlr
ra,r
Salsuki! |and .]ndsniled kindlv Thcrcs,l
wiv 1r)go. so don t $car )orusclfoutlto$
The'man s kindDessrvrs tr)oo\r'r\ hfl r! iirJ
(rr.Ikr nrbl,,ihr.
'
'r.rr rtrr,"r;lr:,r..r. . r
badat kissing.L!cD kissinsto grccrpeopl!h( ,..1\N:
ln Japan.onl) lo!crs kisscich othcr.so l nr r. : ,cL:r,
rt.'
''lbu ll g!'t Lrscd
to il. lid$rrd sair , ,frr
Salsukislmrghtir lhe c'\c.
''\bu rltcrn '
Ed$a|d s Iipsb|ushedSatsUkr's
o\\n \.L.rLLL
closcdhis c\es instinctr\
el). [dr.ard t(X)khis ]: s : r,r
tlr.trbr.r,lrcJllr.'I , rrc( nror(r. r, )1\ ll
^\
''Justrclax. hc srid \\ rrha lirttetrrgh
Shi!erirg ioln th!'slressot-tlrekisses r,
l(Juchrdonc nnnnenlaDddtdn t toUchthc trc\r \.rrnrl
thoLrgh{
he nusl h0\e lookedconipletelvtir('l.,
Al lhatntLrnrcnr.llrcre
$as a knoll orrI -,1,'t'
xs foorlrsen ice i[f]\'cd.Thc bo]. dfcssc(llJr,r . i
tunili)rrI.\heeled a .aft $ilh \corchnndI lil]lrI . r'l
rnlothc roorn.And \rhen F.clrrarri
signcdrlrr .lr..l r''
lcll again{ith duc decorLrnr.
''1bel lhatgu) lhinksI nr
)'oLrrgirlt|1rr.l
Salsukrsaid.tn ing to co\ cr hiserlrb|nassrrrrr
i

77

'Trobably."Edwardagleed \4aybe\re

shownIllm .,'nl(lhlllPa lllt lc Inor<e\lr(nl(


sh0uld've
hd\ rIp ||, d(SalsukisntrleJarnh.:U.',r,1\.
bowio ltrpond
..h any event. Ld\rard corllirrued.\c'll
prlbrd to b the ferociotlsloverse\eryone thinks \tc
ar!rnd staythe nighl hcrc-then ehcckout .rl noon So
enjoyhotel life."
Most loverspftrbabl! drdn-tstav at sultc rouns
hL,lcl' \rltrr\l coulJrr'lima._itre.tct
r[suctexpensitc
beugatle to rescne a holcl sLritcfin hrs o$o hrture

etulfried.
"Do you waDlsonrcl Ed$ardhcldou1.tshol
glass
tull ofbrown licluid.
Salsukr
acc(pl,rdlh- l.r...,rrd.\\rlh,,l
$mpp'ng
to think. dtrer back lhc c|lire thrDgrn orre
3hot.
tlis throatarrdtlre hr! r'.lc \ (ri ,,n t||( Il Jrl
Tr-l Apparently.he could gct drunk fronr a srngle
orhk
Edwardreachedour and prcsscda hand to
-labuki's
cheek.-Do you ti,el b!'$crl'
Satsukirealizcdlhal he had beenlens(rthe
c!ti& tihe. ..yeah...
"Thrn let. qerh.r.l r" DrJ(lrL'
r'q Llnirrn
makine
SarsLrkr
|0tle4
, Ilkrt D.r,IrJHr \\r. n,
0ildsome
thaince,,utdn,,k. <,.n rrr.r,. put*. r:,,..
Sa6uki
deLrd(,jr,, ,U\rLr( r r r\ :Ur.l.l.\.,1
kq.-cyes
Slill.hrshod\ .huuk.lr5' r,r ( rLlr,, r. lrr

;;;i';.il;,1fil;;, ;,,:;Jl::
:;;.,;;,
Ph""
hefelrdrcrouch
r'i!:ul

p;

a-J,r. I tr. ,'cnl( kr\r(.


hirn.onebv one.

7l

-F
At ?f.r ..llil.r/i

Ol Ilonancc
A Promise

'''l'hisis an af,'ectionate
kiss. Ed\\rr,
nlunnured.
Aller scleralroulds.he gar'!,.r.lr : I
lonler kiss. This is lhc lirst kissol-l*1)\(rLr,
tecnegers.
At)d thts...
Ai the sensal()n
ol Ld\lard s tl)nqur., , L\
tracrnso\er hrslrps.chillsran up anddor ., . r. .
\pinr' lle pullcdbacksudddrlv.but Ld$.rd L, ,.1
slrcn! holdol his shoulders
so hc couldnr nrL,,
hdwards longucpushcdits sal into his nrt,rr,:
slighlh'dpenin surpnsc.andrrn overhi\ lccli \r(iir
Invndeddrepefstill.Satsukr
sunendefcd
hinr.. r,,I
Mrybe il uas because
hc wasdrunk.bul. unl.! ,\rl.L!.
hc rcceptcd lhe kiss q ithout any rcsistancc
''ll!tkntr(^
tri1)ttg(1 k)k1\\tt\,
:t!i
he thoLrght
rndolenrly.
''Thefcshouidbc r lrtllcmor!'co()p.r.r irlii
',,r

.l supposil's too nruch\\!rk lo do all at


we ll praclrceagailranother
o!rs,"Edwardsaid
relrtr.d lo heirrlhr' He $3' alirid
Satsukiwas
monrcn!hi5ha.ttmight bursl oul {Jl_hischestal alr,v
rr
trrr\
rirrr(
$
rirlrrr
do\\
it did!'t seemlrkerl uuld
atr(l
s00tr.

An Englishbrcaktist*as scneo D! roofir


sErvice
tbenextntonting.
conrllakes.
orungc.juice.rnd
Freshlysqucezed
ticd eggs,crisp bacon.piping hot sausagcs.sleanred
tooatos
andmushfoons.loastandtea.ItwasaloltLr
atsoearlyin themorning.but Sarsukipolrshedilall
of.

lorer'skiss. Edward
murrrured.
Thcsewords.$hilethe)werecloscrf.,r!h

"Youahvayssecmhappicslu henyou-rc
eoting
Satsuki,"
laughin8.
Edwardconnncnted.

thatthcir bodicsnrighrlolrch.lir a Ureundrr s.,r,'ri'r


pnde as ferldrner Ilc wrappedhis anllsrr|r fJ
[:d*arrl s neck.
" l hat'sgood, Edwardcrooned.
They kisredagain.a kissdcepenoushi,,
nrakeSalsukidiz^. n sweersiShspilledtiol| tf I
uncon\ciLrusll
''Slilldonthuvethchangofitl l:d\\ .-\r
aier a rhilc. nro\rns a* al
Salsukishookhis herd.
"l Ldi t helirr( lk^ litstD)t httnl \ l., i ,
he lhoughl.
,

as lavjshas thissince
"I traven'thadsomethilrg
IcalletoEngland."
tryingto
Satsukisaid.red-faced.
excwhis behavior
"Jtrslwalchrrru
rou nrirk(\nr( hrpn\. Il \ hecn

avhilesince
r,",i'nr
I fetrrtrai:t d*rrd ,:r,,1h;iirirl.
sh8lr atSatsuki
u rrrrrrr.blueevcs.

Ar a losslin \rords.
histacesuddent\-" 11

"What is nti' t:a ! li/; trsrr:.ll likt!"


It wasstransek'SJrsLrki.
EdFardhada lirrturc
yDever needed
he hlrdspcnr
tJrrork..lusllhe nroneJwaso lugr amounr.tr wasa tiilolousness
S&y
Anri hc
coLrl.l
n.\(r understand.
Ilonrnoner
seul an opulent
aparrmeDt
in a high-endhousing

InHe

wa;youDE.
lacc
a bcaurilul
hJda r|rle.rnd

80

1i.rokd.liil.iri

ttrat r.rd.(\(r\\rr( \tJr(. \omrJl l,c,.pl(,h(.


aboulcveD4hing
lhal rLasa realit) li)f h1n1.
\\
I ,.
happulcssnreanl() soDconelikc hirnl
''Don l lou ha\c a grflfiicnd,l Scls lr ,.,!.1
suddc l]-. He hildbeenwonderincaborrthrl ll. rr,
sureihal the\ronl.rnFduardcouldnt sed|rf ,i
I
cxisl [t sccnredro nlkc ntorc senscIo se!lL]r.
\vonianhc u ls i|tcr.\ted in th.tnto rccruirr ti, ,rr
' tlu ilj iendl Edrird secmcdr l ri ,
srrrpr\ed^by lhis unexpucted
quesrion.\lx\h! r. !l
rnliontol nrcrightno\. hctcas.d.e\Jrcrtl\,l !r{
''Whararc )our phns tiI rodav.anrrl[
Salsukiiskcd. changingthc sublecl\!hcn hr r.., /.Ll
ho\ rudc il *rstoqurstron Ld*ardrbout hr\,,riiiL!
''Oh )c-\.Wherc\ould \,ouIike r(i
!,, l,.
blondasktd.
''I hc zoo Srrtsuki
slriclattcrsonrrh., r ,L,,
''Thc rool Ld\\.ud!'cljocd.contl.c,l
''It 5 aclLlllv an rs\i{rr)lcnl Ior sch(\,.'
Srtsukiadnirted \\r'cha\c l()lnrnic.rninllrl:\..l
l, r!( r,, fir'd.,n rr,r',d I,i ,.\( ... ir -(iL.r(I!J
''I ha\en t becltt0 thc /oo sinc!'!'lcnt,rrrrL
\
\chooi. hd$afd sirid ThatInightbe nirc li r . .,rr!:
Srl\ukl srs relic\!d rha',h" n,"u hr,l. , .,,,
Thc t\o ucrrl oul togctheIto thc I rirrrl,,,1."'
in Regerre\Pafk Ihrs zoo lct rn Jbrll.ecrll rhc.rl,'
studcnlsrilh lD. But dfessedLrplrkea !\.,Jl.lr \.r1{rNl
\\a: reluclrnllL)\ho\! his ll) Fleirslc.rdfrr(l I rr

A promise Of Ronrance

8l

,ntuce feeuirh lduerJ.


'"
Despitethc blust"fingwinief $ ind.lherelr,ere
\lcekend.
a!o'rly visitorsto the zoo as in anv orher
youngtover..Hc cvcnsa*.sonleclassmates
froilies.
hc had.
rvlohadcomeforthc "a,nercasoD
\\hencverhc passeda
He felt very ner\oLts
but thankslo lhe long wig xnd makeup.no
clrssnate,
him.
onewerrecognized
fiarrc ol nrind.
He wasin a stratrge

Satsukitelt bad tin hd\,'ardsincelhe.-\\ound


upwalkingaroundthc zoo in ic) reather lar nlorc
t[a! twohours.licezingthcnrselres
solrd.Ld*rd s
4aftrent was ncarbv.si:rthe\ \'enl th.rc lo take
&lvafiageof his fireplace
Wlen thevgoi to thepl cc.Nevillc \\rs thcrc
!xheetthem.lt looked like hc d beensrayingel lhc
aperlnentin its o$ncr-s abscnceFd*'ard didn t look
tsrticularlysurprised.Satsukihad hsard lhar F.nglish
PioPleanangedthingsa rnonlh in adva|ce wnen rne!
stdtedto visit eachothcr's holncs-bui it seemedno
sllchformalitieslestrairrcd
thcset$o.
"You'rca \\hole ne\ Derson.
N{a\'. Ne\ rllc
sod "Transfonncd
l',un,, uuor crch"ne. .rudenl rnlo a
youlglady.
lt s truc tlrilt clott,csu,"t. tt," n,,r,,
Satsuki\rasn t surehow l(Jrcspondb thrs
"Oh \e.. lh( rr,l ..'tr'lr rid \ r,,l .,1
s{ages
--,
canrctur \r,u \'.ir .i..rll\s(n .rlt., JrJ I
''We fc .rill r, r .i, r..

l,l$.'rdr(fl .,rc\.n\

Hc fcallyseemcdlo thinkso.
''I hadlhe maidp l thc lhingsinto i .r
!
r(x)nr.-Nc,rrllesaid.
llis lii!1rdno(idcd. Thanks.lt s x g,r ,,

-F

' ' But\\h!did vou scndit Ltllherc., \f,


I
-Shouldn
3skL'd.
t vou ha\c sentit stmrghl1,,\r . .
''N4\pl.rceis r(x)sntrll.so I souldr L
,c
toliecprlall thcre. Srrsukisrid.abir beurlLtr.. j,rr
Nevill(.strllsounded
so pul oul nbouthavin! , r.
$ l, lf(I'J.kJ!(\ But lu\ r! tl,.r'
'Ir.r. l,,,.l
d!ir\efed $ould put an\ housernroan uprr,r
''Arl: vou {orng to cornchcreele'rr
rrrr. ,, r
nccdro gcl soDrcthinq'lN$illeaskcd.
''\ts. I pianto. Satsukianswcred
Nevrllc!runtcdclisrntcrcsledl).
''Satsuki.won t \ou r!'cLrnsidd
nl\ {)il! i,, d
..lt:\t
lire
hcrel
Fd$ardsaidsuddcnlr
loLr
ir..ri
togclher.
\\'c coUldrcl rnor!'colnfbrt ble \\ rrlr\.r. I
olhcf.And iluc re iailcdh1 a reporre-r
likc tJ.r r .:ir.
'lr! J'ntnr.r' lr(r( i, t I ln th t. o lt , t) ,.,i
''l hcy alrcadribundoutl Nevill. frl\ij l$
cyebrows.inrpresscd.
''Ycs. his tii!'rrdrlns\r!'rcd
drtl\...\1,
''Thalqonrar)s r bkrirclhound
-Ne\ rll. . ',rrl['
*l
lr ord\ out ! iciousl\. $ irssurel-d get (lrc\.ti ,i,,,rL
''Don t $on] about
Udwardas\Uff|rrD
lricnd We didn t allo$ thc 't.
phor(xofthc i.1Lr.rl

A Promr:cUl Rornrncc

S]

I'r
oul moialattheCafCRt')al fcl
'
forr,rrr lr'rr,l$,'rk. ){e\illc.riJ
"Than-ks
$rssticallY
'Now. no$. Ne\illc. !d\ard said. 'weren l
vou&qonewho said yotl wantedto phorcgraphlhc
'ptrsltrtion the ring l '
of
Satsukilistenedlo thcir convefsalronin a dazc
Aglorntly,a cameramalrhad been li)llo* ing lh.nr
"Even wlvn t? kit\!.1:''
He I'eltthc blood drain tionr his lhcc.
"Whatclsedid,""out.rkepicturcsol'l" hc asked.
hisvoiceshakingunerpectedll.
''Wegot picturesol ercr!lhrlg. theJoumali\1
toldbim indiffereDtly.
Satsukif-chrngcr boillfg up insrdehirr lhe!
badn\told him abou hisl
"Why didr't you tell nrcbeli)reh.rnd'l"
Salsukr
criedout,comering E<iward.
The blond nlrn couldn r sccnr1.rurderstand
Srtsuki's
anger.A strangclook crossedhis tace.
But Neville was the one to ans\\er. Ilur look.
May,you
wouldn'thale actednalurall\jl_voud known
t&rewasa camera..
Satsukicouldnl rcspoDdNe\illewrs
coopletely
n8hl. Hc haJ hrc. ,rir\,,..,(n,, L,trr,.l
&{kirg
arouid r c,rcrJ-,r t r trt h:r.tln.,r rr rl,rr r
,hcn. h( \,,rto trd\( hc(n ', (|l
3@ra was totluo
'n"
off.
He hung ilr hdad.
'qe
N e\rl l e had.r { rd,l (nl \ ,Jfl ,,1r.i \t' ri ..r,,l
,
r \torry. May The story'\i-asn l aclually

-.w
OfRomance
A Promisc
His liicnd s brors knilt.d t{)serher.-\\. L!1,
'''fhc st(rry\ras killcd. Ne\ille e\fl.|rir I I
seenrs
storlcsaboulLordArgvlc s wcddinglr, ,
linrits"
''Thc old lnnn s beenbus).' Edw.r(ll)r ..'
''No. I don t lhiDk!,ourhutlcris linrl
cnoughwith ihc tabloid\orld lo influcnccirn\rl, !
hrs.loum.rlisl
liiend countered.An\ otheflrr!.-..
''ll vou nreanothc.pcoplcoppos!{ L(i ,
|
l-\r,'.rr a.rr.. Litn.,1t(l:rlt\r, .,
'Jrrl,i:
nanre. lhc bloDdreplred Bur thisnlennsl\1,
\1.,\liflr'. \',,r\ ',:t. nr,,l'.,h1\
hl^.k(J. r,'.
' I ll sce'if I canUndout anything- \.\
,
l-drard snriled.'l harks.'
Saisukiv\'esrelievedto hcarthattherr.. r.
rboul the .'nraqcmcnt$efe beiogblockcd lJr
couldnl iDraprne
sccinghis o\rn faceiI a.lri\'r '
nlagarrnc.
firt he oughtto gct usedto the idf,l
llc $as grllinga lol of ntoncyin rcl rr
c\.rcll! that And Ldwrrd \!asusinsc\en lror! ,,,,rrjl
lbr lbodandente ainmcnt
''l1 l stdyhere.!re \on l ncedl(i \li\ .r1rr,'1r:
lik. \!e did laslnighr.figln.) Sarsukiirskcdhf' :r,rrll
Thc annurrtthc) d spclll()nclolhc:rr,' .
reste|davuas so ndieulousthath.-lill iL\,,Lrl. '\ rir
wa\teofnronc) l() renl hot!'l\uilcs,i r"'
oulriiilcous
''Thrr's ghl. L(l\llld srid a liitlc !lLrrr \
''Didn r )ou likc rhc holell.rslrrighll'

rJ5

Satsukiquickly denied$hat \\'asbeing implicd.


dlhf's not the problcnl ' lle didn t understrndwhY
'Well. I
Edwad'smood had suddenlydeterrcraled.
hir! f[ acceplyLru ofter to slsy here l sanl lo nrake
Iclarthatthis will not be perrnancnl.Bul this placc is
closlto mY school.too '
"l'djusl likc to remind1ou lhal if !\e li\,c
it miSht be eas) k) lirget that $c necd tL)
bgether,
peoplethal \!'e rc cngagcd$llcn \r'c go out.'
coDvince
warned. That cr)uld lcad {o trouble '
Edward
rhat. Sxrsuklsaid.
"l understand
"Then welcornc1l)nry honrc. Fdward
Foclaimed.
His moodsccnrcdto hare improred
io$ediately.
Nevillcparc r J,'p,rJ.rJ\nril, Ih.rli'rcr.
Mayb
thiswill hclp alle!ialclour cnnura bit. Fd$ afd.
.'
lcao'tbecon{taDll\
(ontrr\ao\(r to \c( \rr,r
"Is it really all frght? Satsukipronrpled.
"Ofcourseit is. Ed$ardassured
him. Usc
wttleverroom you want._'
And \o lhc i\{.( r!.ul\cd rt.cllrrrr<h.

Act III
AboutNothing

quic*lyafferSaoukioovcd
wokeup,broakhstwouldalready
by theuaid. It wasa
t!., aodchcere,brasiaoeie
baeslftarbeforE.heflt like be
hewcdtto rchooland afterbeing
fiom dne itr the mording
lh ovaoiog he weNrthometo
Di!trcr w.s usuallya Fc-cooked

prcpandby thcuaid. Satsuti


ou howplainthe&y-to{ay food
ht it $a8sril far buerttatr esling
for dimersvrytrigbLIt wls
to lot hsveto wort qt thepub.
EdwadaadlearnedtheQueel'r
of spesliDgthe l&guage.
bqggedSatsuli to teachtiE

i it lrar icingontbeoate,and
to cco morerEo!,yfor it, asa
didtr'tty st all, rrd it w.s
f& a vrayfor tlc rro to kill timc.

ple! fortotroEow?'Saisrthql

A Promise Ol Rornance
askcdEduL d aficrdinneron lh!' liih dr! I )L
t!cck.hc d spenilrisda)sdoinghis old rooL,r
,
lhc weekcnds.
he d do as his ne\r cnrplo\(rir.
''I nr sor^ lirr rheshorlnoiice.lr!( | r
lakc lou up l() Dorsclt\\'rthnrr. Fd\\.L(lrr,...
SatsulirecalledrhatLd*.ardhadr(,,l ,
ablrur n estillche o\\ncdthcrc.
''All right llc trrs rcrd\ for rt. Lr,
beenlikc a rchr'u|salbut lrontno\\ on. the\ f.

-! lr(
,Li r
.,i
1,.1,,
f,r
.r
i .r,
,:f.

t hc nert nrorning.Ld$ard dror,rrir.


Doficll.
()Dccthev$cr'f pasllhc l-ondonr itr
L\ nl
srenerlchanlcdInO pcNcetirl
coUnrnsid!
l hree-quarter\
ofhnrland is fan tl|,
Dcspitealsohern{rn islandnalrorr.
it s \cr\ rlr | .rrr
fflrm.l l).l|. s herealnrostall rhepeoplcrrrrir I ,r
eonccntruted
rn Lrti$ cilies
'Ihecarrodeo\crcountr)
Ll
blala)\ irr.,Lr
"
_l'hc\
houses
drovclix aboutthreehoLIs
'Hrrc rc
-rre. l J\"rLl .:rrd{L \.rr ,l
\\rs s!'alcdon lhc lassclllierside fhec.rrhl,l ,,,fl.,'rl
ilr liorrtofr DarrrifirentiroDgate u<1$ru.1
1r,,u.:,1tlrJ
..rf \ hornurr.lLrnranappearcd
llonr a litrl.,.,.,,.,, ut'
Lrrside
th( gareandopcncdir iof thcln 'ft.rr'. r\
galckcepcf
rnd hrssl)ed.'
Srtsul\icouldnt bclie\c\hrrF,i\\.r,1 n.'.lrllrrr!
hirl Whatthcnrlrlcallcdrhcgarekcepcr
\ ihu.l..r'r)r"ri
inrpressirc
lhrn ll)chous.'n'. ,nn,',tu,'u.U ,u ., ,.,

89

The road conlinucda long $av froln thc 8ate.


\\ilh lrees There was no sigrrofthe
[nd o! bothsides
gatesdslof yet.The car passedthroullh se\cral nlorc
crosscd
a
stollc
n]eadow.:lDd
aovdeda spmwling
hidge.They hadeasily gone lhree kilonrctcrs\Yhen
sddirly, the treescleareda$ay and a magnlflccut
hrildilgtruly descnirg r)l 1hcndmc lnanor" appeafed
bforcthem.
_[hc
olthe aparlnrcnl
Satsukigasped.
-grandcLlr
inlrtrdon bad not preparcdhinr tbr lhrs.
Thecarpulledup thc d|ivewavin llonl ol lhc
eDtmce.
As they gol out ofthlj car. the doors opcncd.
Ar oldman in an irnpeccableblack suit appcarcdand
bo*edbeforeEdward. Welconrehomc. sir"
"l expectnothinghnppencd
in nr1 absc'nce.)'
Edward
askedby \rav olsreering.
"MissAngclicacanrc1.rseeyou. sir. lhe old
Iun whispredin his ear.
Edward'shandsomelhce cloudcdorcr.
.Aryelica?.'
"Threedr\s rr.,. \u- s('c rr,rL. .o .lrc l( tl

Pio nna*1,,

:
r'
trdr" I hehrrr rr.rnr,l
'rr
','r",rnr:

b8Sazeto Satsuki
'.'r

"Misslmanr',r..r.
\.4\firr(LL \rd\. llr. r.
uQeyPadget.
H" nrr r.ir croal-r"t,'rrl.-.H.
u & a g etsh is(c la ,'(.
I d s . , d . d rd s , rl, . , r, . ! ri\ , , l. r .
"\trelcom<.
nriss I rr( but-..r\ tir(\.$.,\
'r!rcnsionle.s.
In \lar\ (L.ur:r\rro lr\ sd'r'r sct( rrr
"Thankyou. satsukis:nilcddcspit!'lhetearhc

&

"Preparethc best roLrmin lh!'house lbr

A PromiseOl Romance
-hcr. Edward ordercd
Certiirrh,.
str..rheburlers td. h,,$ r , r\
.
hcadngain.
..Wbr. .Salsuli
exclainred.
atlrT.l . r!r,irr
slcfpcdinsidclhe ha .
Drarbte
chcckcfboadUoorspre](t , hili,t
,
.A
,,]',.',",'
-cnuII| t\ t\3 rr(dt !h \..r I.
redr(Ja statr\a\ .o!crcd irrrcd c rpcttn! \!
..,! r
pa tlrn{sdccorated
lhe \l alJs.aDdstaluc,\ rr
irrfange.laround
lhe roonr.And on either.rr:L
hallst(Jod
\!\cral dozcllscnanls_\\.hohr(i
ri
grcerlld$rfd on his fcrum.
\.rr\!rkrr,JJr(\.f.1.(.t n.(h | .l,i,.rl
ncr,'r(In r)r\(nl||( liti
''Plc.rsc.
tirlloNnre.,lhc burlcrfc(tuf,i
SatsukiclrDrbed
lhs slairsattcrih!.L,tt .Lrl
I Ie |oliccd thatrhcfe$rs e\!,na taslelirl(lc.r]' i lhl
handrLiil.
Il secnrcdr roDgk) touchir !,,ilholl ! ,,\., Lrl
Passrn!rhrougha !:a|cry jn $hich ,,|, , r|
*as nradcentirclvof\(indou.s.SatsUkr
\\il\ r.(i
''Dinncris at 6:l[r. please
lllakc\or]r,fr
coDrforlablc
hcrcLrnlrlthen..thc butleridi(l .rn,i trfil
Srtsukicarelill),iD\pcctcdhrss|| (,u|,:,:.
Thc tirslthiDehc norrccd
.. .ri
rvrsthc cirrr,1,
ll lookedlrkea king s bcd ijon a lajn t:ltc hf ,\. .
alsoInrprcssed
h) theRreplaLc.
t3llerthitnhc $.r. i rirr
rtiturll) hildI nre h:.nrrnt,nrt \ trrye1....\rr. .\
sprcadoul on thel'loorLr,dun d,.,rnlt hun" ,rt,.*',j.'
b,! Cobelrnsthal l{)okedlike they belLrngea
rn .r I ,c'rr']

9l

He found a seconddoor and peekedinside i1.It


6e bathroom.but it was big enoughlirr sonreone
"1s
b live it
Everythingw!s oul.agcouslygr.tndand
Ilartrious.
Aclock showedthal rt $lrs lhreern lhe
There$as a lol ol limc lcii bclorc dinncr.
anrDoon.
It lookedlike Ed$ard rasn l going lo conrc
s!him,so Satsukiburro\red inlo lhc caropicd bcd.
.iu!ttoseewhat it felt like. He telt likc hc had bcconrcir
king.He savoredit, kno\\'ing he \\ oLrldnever bc ablc to
oxlericnce
this again in his liie
Hislife beforcall thrssecmcdunreal.
$r.ndedng
aimlesslyand prcssedlirr nlrDey.
"He s a god o[gool lit nt."
Edward'sl'acelloatcd up in his nind. lle
n9membered
that the lite he was leadingno$ ras d|c
loBrcnda's
death.and he $as seizedbv a miscraore

feclirs.

He let therlremorics
vr'ash
o\cr him lir a hit.
.
b0l tscauseofthc
long dfivr:. hc \r'assoon last aslccp.

"Wh1 drd Angclrc.,


r,,rnclrcrr.' l trsrJ.r\keu
.
wtct drebutler
camt_rohrs rLarrn
,,- ^ Aagelicaua. .r .o .,rrrrr.,rrrhr, t rlhrr', .r,ii or
re.r.,.tdfl rl,.,Ihrrr \oc. tr.:,tl\.,t,,
)hly..ercn
"$lhe.daughler
;t his t:,rrrr \. \,!
\r"l
r,rrr.:<r'i,rortr.r
ri cr Fl r
rcr sr,..r'r
-qq6"'sr
LD
.,
law.
ari,roL.rrr,.
,,)hu,..uNJ
['{8lish
t.,$(.,,rt\
son.Iflhcr('is no son.lhe tirnih lin!'flrd\

KtekoAkirsx
Edward'suncle,thesecondsoD,hauocen
misedas the sonof Lord Argyle, but neveratained
nobilitystatus.ThesecircumstaDces
deeplyallecled
theman.Because
hecouldn'thavea title, hebecane
obsessed
with runningtheArgylefamilycornpany
Hi!
desi.ehadbecomeeveDmore overt after the dcatbof
Edward'sfathe.
Edward'sfatherseemed
to haveanliciDatcd
thisdevelopment
by namitrgEdward'smalernalcousin
Gordonthebeneficiary
ofhis estateifthe hcirdidn,t
carry out his duties.If Edwarddidn't marr). according
to thewill, totalconholofthe companywouldpass
to Gordor.And ifthat bappned,
Edward'sunllc
Stuart,who wasin chargeofthe companyas Ed$ard\
steward,wouldbe forcedto withdrawhis conlrol.0f
course,his unclewasn'tgoingto standsilentl)bywhrle
that happenedh wasnaturalto thinktht Edward .,.pno..d
'
engagement
to theSimo[ girl, whichresu]ted
iu lhe
contractwith Satsuki.couldbetracedbackto hrs
uncle'smanipulatioDs.
And like her father,Angelica wasa r oman
rich wi$ ambition.Eightyearsago.shehadnr.rrrred
anAmeticantycoon, so Edwardhad assumedshe\tas
still with him in America.He couldn'timagi c $hy
shewouldcomeall theway to Dorsett.Ht hrd a bad
feelingaboutit all.
An oddlyembarassed
look crossedrhebLrtlf,'t
[ace.'Wereyou awarthatshebasgottendr\,,1,d0 ..
"r,,lo.I wasn't.' Edwardresponded.YouniSI
saythat this newsis a little unexDected."

A.PromiseOf Romance
hascomebackto Englan4" the

"Aad shebelievesyououghtto ma!ry


Edwardtookin this inforEntionlike
bluc.'since it's cometo this,tell methe
N[angedthe marriageto thc Simon

stuai aDdrbyself,sir" Theoldbutler


. 'W9 bothstoodto bercfrtftom
Mrstei Stuanwouldremaitryour
It9 &mily's busioers,
Aod ifl may
MasterStuansincehischildhood.
thatit remaiowiu himratherrhanit be
ldgsterGordon."
asmuch."Edwardlet out a sigh.

t d servdtheArgylefamilysiocehis
gddgration,so of coursehe had takencale
did!'t havea particula.ly favorable
utrcle,but the butlerowed more to his

bedid to Cordotr.
lohstcd verycareftlly,"thebutlersaid
of the appropriately-aged
noblewometr,

themostbeautifulard good-lature4
Itro6tsuitablefor you,"
to haveputyouthroughsomuch
saidsarcastically.
it oolotrgeruatter6,"thbudsrsaid."I
anyifther Youmustquicklymarry
back Miss Atrgelicaii quite
Master stuart Gimplyl.ughed the idea
him of its merit6
har Dersuaded

KyokoAktsu
and he seemsto favor the marriagoow as well..,
"So my uDcle'sthe oneblocking the gossip
reportsofmy e[gagement,"Edwardmurmucd.
"All I desircis tbat you Ilrirrrj/.Masrer
Edwar4" the butler confessed."But, I woulo ramei
someone,
allyone...odrel
thanMissAngelica.
He still clearlyrccalledhowAngeljcahad
behavedas a cbild, her temperflaring whene!ef her
desircsweredenied,th'nk* !o herspoiledupbringing.
Edwardsmiledat theold servanl.'Rela\.old
man.Therc'sno way ['m marryingAngelica.
All heremembered
ofA4gelicawasshining
blondehairandspiritedgeen eyes.Behavinghoweler
shewished.therehad beentftnesthat he had foundhet
offensive,and alsotimesthat he had envicd her.
"Another matter,MasterEdward... l hebulld
hesitated.
"Whatis i! old man?"Edwardpronrpted.
"Would you tell me againthe name()1lbe
youngwomanyou broughtwith you todayl" drebu et
finallyasked.
"Imamum.That's [-ma-mu-ra."Ed$'afd
inshuctedprecisely.
The excellentservaDtrEmemberedth. nand
andfacesofall ofhis master's
guests,bul hehid bd
unableto remember
sab*i't o*e *d *u"l"i''
t0
distressed
by the fact.It hadsouDded
too slrange
stick in his memory
'1mamura.,.Imarnum,..,"
he muttered
Satsuki'snameto himself like a prayer.
After lhe butler left the room. Edwatd

PromiseOf Romance

95

didtr't careaboutthe tide or the

M alwaysbeenburywith work
st home.Atrd his motherhad
his father'sabroce by doing
work. No matterhow Edward
hie patentsneverlookedhis way.
bad put up wilh the situationquite
had alwaysbeenlocked away.
il wai atr imnic twist offate that both
he hardly eversaq had died
Ulanlingto feel love fiom his own
lik a modestdesire.In a normal
\rould be takedfor glanled.They
bcauseof their moneyand position,
oothing to do with thosethidgs.
ttat, but thy had broughthim
Fiward couldn't countthe number
cometo him. attractedbv his title
M.d atrd*.omen both had thei. eyes
lard lepresented.He wss tired of
that. He wasparalyzed.He didn't care
bena whim to rebelasainstthe
tvheDit cameup. He didnl actually
a[yoneor not.He hadfelt a bit guilty
but
iDtosucha pitifulposihon.
satsuki, it helpedhim to forget his
single-mindeddeterminationin
counfy to follow his dreams
insideEdward.He had long lost any

KyokaAhtsu
pu4,osein his.life. He waded to keepSatsuli
nearby
q
muci as_possible.
Onemight almostsayhe rvasfoold
by the plan he had created.
He didrl lnow why he felt that way

Of Romarce

97

get up," Edwardsaid."It's time


" Satsuli got up quickly.
'h4dDuton a white tie. He was
going out troa party,thoughit was

Satdukiwasconfused.
Edwardheadedto the room whereSarsuli
was stayiDg.He knockedotr the doot but thcrewasno
reply.
"Sat!uki?" he whispred.
He wenl into the room and lookedarouno.
Eventually,he noticeda lump in the sheetson lhebed.
He peekedidto the sheetscautiously.
Satsukiwasasleep,
his facecompletelv
unguarded.He must havebentired out by thc drile.
His long eyelashescastshadowsacrosshi; face.His
glossyblack hair lay acrosshis chekand Ed$ard
gentlybrushedit ofr ThewhiteskinofEastAsians
alwayslookedas smoothas a porcelaindoll,s.
EdwardstlokedSatsuki'scheekwith a tlnger
He felt lot the coohessofporcelai4 but the $ amth
ofa humanbeing.He placeda tenderkisson $tsukil
lips to wakehim up.

change,!oo?" he inquired.
" wasthe aNwer "lt's mther formal,
drss?"
had broughtthe bagsthey'd packed
into th room while Satsukihad
out a deam colored-mw silk.
It was slightly opeoat the chest,but
beadediacket.that wouldr't

Ile putup his hairandclearedtbesigtrs


face,put on somelipsticl andtbe
complet.

't lookweird?"satsukiaskedEdward.
a little uneasysincethe manhad
processio silence.
You look cute." Edwardnodd4
"Well then,my lady,may I tlke your
gingerly put bis handaroundtbe

A fiesh scentcameto Satsuki's nosrflrs.


"It srnellslike Edwadb cologne,"he Ihcrngltl
.
sleeplly.
Somelhitrgwa]m brushedhis liDs.Whenhe
openedhis eyes,he sawEdward\ smilinp l'acein fidl
of him.

bad alreadysetand the windows


deepblack shadows.Passingtbrough
they went do*Tstairc. Satsukiwas
rpaciousdi[ing room and was seated
that could easilyseateight people.A
vas placedon the table andthe silver

98

KyokoAkitsu

tablewarcwasmeticulouslysetout.
OnceEdwardhadesconedSatsukrr,,hi.
-,_
P'4Lt
he rookhis own seat.
Therewere only the Fvo ofthem at ihe lable
_
But tberewerea nulbberofwaiters.includil|!
rhe
buUer.slandingbehindthemalongthewal
Themealbeganwith horsd'oeuvres
anosoup
__
like a truly sophisticated
dimer,but Satsukr$asso
nervousthat he could barelytastethe food. Makina
conversation
with bis hosrwasalsodiflicrrtrlte $is
so conscious
ofthe peoplelisteningbehindrnenrthat
it wasallhe coulddojust to nodin responsc
to rhe
coDversatton
so as to avoidslippingup.
"May,areyou neNous?..
Ed\^arda\^<J
cunously,seingSatsuti's awkwardbehavior nc
chuckledwhenSatsukinodded...Eventhouchvouie
aDaclor?"
For Satsuki,it wasstrangerthat Edwardwas
so calmaboulbeiogwarchedby so man) pc,,nl(Bdrt
wasprobablybecause
hehads.own uo berns.(nedb)
popleatrdhadbecomeirnmuieto theeazrur ,,then
Satsukitried to return Edward'sironv in kind
''You re a bnerperformerthanI
am...
"I'd nevertboughtofthat.,'Edwardhughed
happily,asif something
hadgeatly amusedhim.
"11's
a bil dimcuit.so l'll sho\ vorr.,r.'uId
lhe house."Fdwardsardlo Satsukianer.tirner.arif
searchingfor a way to pleasehis visitor.
Unableto sulk forcver,Satsukireluchntly

PromiseOf Romalce

99

into the ioom next to the didng


billiad tablein the middle of it.
s,"Edwardsai4 "this is the
the gentlemengatherwhetrtheu
bed-"
neyerloow! atryonewith their

bY
but hewastro longersurprised
Lnewwhat elseLord A$yle owned?
thc billiard room and enteredanother
is called the bar," Edwardwent
.'When nry motherwas alive, shewould
four to six hoursat a time, but
i troticedthat this was the first time
oedtioned his PareDts.
molher is dead?"he asked.
my fatherbothdiedin a caraccident
Edwardanswered."Thoug! it
much differenceifthey did die
was alwaysbusywith work so I
atrdmy motber.. .well, mYmolher was
with herself.'
was mortifred.He undemtoodwhat
be uloved by one'sparents.His father
late. and so wheneverhis older
in the hosDital.he would be alonein
would neverforget the desolationhe felt
time in a housecompletelydevoidof
felt the sameway Satsukihad?

I00

KyokoAkitsu

For the frst time, he felt closetto the man.


"Well, one thiog,sfor cettain_l he

f,:l:.::lgll$;il;; fi il- il Ii..J:11

Eowarogavea bitl,ersmileandburriedout or ,nr


bar.
Thenextroomtheycameto hadbo(,hsnelves
.
runuingup to tbeciling.all stufred_tull
ot rn,..enr
books.It was lessofa studyaDdtr|orea librnn
of
antiques.-Satsuki
wasseizedby a feelingllrrr Lchad
wandered
Intoa sideroomat a majormuser.n.
"I'lJ showyou somelhingintereslrng.
\dt,uh...
tdward- look downa tlookandgaveil to Salsrjkr.1ll
an orignal copyof Hamlet."
Satsukifelt dizzy.Any collectorwoutdbeeager
Justto lay eyeson this,but it wasstoredcarclcssll
Theremustbe many othet treasuresburied ,n thrsroom.
He fearfullytumedthepages.He h J I o
chanceofurderstatrdiog
it, siDceir was\ rilt(DIn
archaicEnglisb.
Edwardwinkedat him. ..EvenBritishpeople
can't understaldit, so don't feel bad.',
WheDthey left tbe study,they lookedin o0
anotherdining roorn,differoDtfiom the one lhcy had
eatenin. This one wasevenbigger,with a tahlethat
couldseat12"Pastthereis theroomI usefor myseli.'
Ed\4ardpointedout. 'And belowarethe k;.Id, and
lhe seflaDts'rooms.
,llot^o
Thats somewhere
l m
',ut
to go."
'Not allowed?,,Satsuldechoed.
"lAey don't like it. I couldonlv co downihcF
fora peekwhenI wasa kid." glwara smitel Oltrcrl/

seOf Romance

l0l

is big enough,ald prEttyold aod


I got to seeit," Satsukisaid

cheertully."I'm gladyouthbk
amout of time hadDassedoDthe
oppressedby the splendorofthe
ofclosenesEhe hadfelt io the bar
tim to the other areasofthe house.
hch an aristoorat.He was part ofa
world from the one Satsukilived

this tullyfelt like he6mlly understood


rwoEancamethe next momilrg to wake

awake,miss?"
homing," h repliedas politely as he
headmaid, Mccuyels," lhe old
hersef, smiliq brigbtly. "Master
Everyonein the housetr so eager
lady,but he has!'t said a word to
tbe cMains, allowing the light in.
IEamura."
. ." The old womanhadn't utrderstood
at a complteloss.

102

KyokoAkitsu

"Everyone
callsmeMay...Satsuli
,arJ.
herhis othername.Dolwanlingto rroublc.r.jh givi[g
anicc
wom:rn.
"ShallI callyouMissMay.rhen.,.
t\<,roln|r
.
asked
"Certaidly," Satsukireplied.
Sbeseemed
relieved...MissMa) hr(dllasthas
,Deen
stout rn thesumoom_"
"Whe.e'sthesuru.oom?,'
SatsukiinqLrrred.
"lt's the room furthestto the southon thelinl
.,Onceyou.re
floor,"the-old ladyexplained.
rcacy,lust
nng your bell and I' takeyou there.,.
"Thankyou,Mrs_Mccuyers,..Satsuki
said.
"Shall
I helpyou getready?'.rhcotil woman
.
rnqurred
politly.,.MasterEdwardsaidit wnsi I
necessary
if you werefeelingwornout by thewhole
experience."
"No, thankyou," Satsukihuniedlysrid. I n
not usedto haviDgpeoplehelpme lrketh.rr.
"Allrigh!" themaidsaid...Ifyou nced
an',thing,doD'thesitaieto call me.'.
The womanbowedpolitely and lefi thcroooi.
Sahukicha[gedinto a brownkniflcdknce,
lengthdrers.He washedhis faceat the very anrique'
lookingwashstand
and,whenhewascompletely
prepared,he rang the bell for the maid.
Thebutlerappeared
instead.He rvas
expressronless
asahrays.re\ealing
ut hts
nolhtn:r
Ihoughis.
"Good moming," Satsukisaid.
Thebutlerconscientiously
retumedhir

OfRomaoce

103

didfl't semlike a bad personat all.


wasthat the old servantwas
but rbarwasjust proof tbat tbe
}ou to ih sunmom,"the mal said.
Nrsbeenwaiting for you impatiently."
lcff his bedroom,hurriedon bY the
was a bright rcom, covercdm
floor to ceiling, allowing abundant
ir Aom outside.lt was a stnallerroom
heater,but it wasPleasantlywalm
tablethat seatedfour had beensetfor
alieady sealed,smiledat Satluki.
sleepwell last night?" he asked.
" SatsukigaveEdwarda light kiss on
ins and thentook his own seat.He
s bold move himself,but it camemorc
he had expected that wasthe benefitof
in Edward'slook ofsurPnse
he could seethe Sardensoutside
grandwindows. Everythinghe could see
the Lord Argyle.
sethe gadens h the springtim,"
'h's the only thing I boastabout."
nodded.
wasalmostovel, but therewas still no
moming, they hurriedback to Irndon

104

KyokoAlciblt

so ttrat Satsukicould go backto scbool_


The bu{er appearedin Satsuki,s roon to lake
his bags.
'AnissImamur4 pleasetake good careof
MasterEdwar4" he said,bowingrespecrtirlt!.
.
-'Wbat?"satsukiwascaughtoffgu.r,:dbyrhs
butler's
iiaDk expression.
A sadlook crossedthebutler,sface.'-lr'stcei
a longtirnesiocel've seenMasrerEd\aardr,l
posrtivemood."
"I didn't noticehim actingvery diflerenrly.,,
Satsukisaid.
"That'sbecause
il,s dueto you, Miss
lmamur4" lhe butler said.
"I'rn hot so sureaboutthat,',Satsukimurtered.
He lhoughtthat Edwardwasjust in a good
moodbecausethe manwashavingsomefuDrnaking
Satsukicross-dress.
"Wereyou awarcthat therewill be a lamily
gathering
in Londonnexthonth?,'thebutleraslied,
hesitatingsligbtly.
Satsukishookhis head...No, I wasnr. '
"l believesomeofthe fuLrnily
atlhe
members
party will mate it thei businessto dislike yo . tb
butlersaid frankly. "But doD,tlet them discourage
you."
"Oh?" Satsukididn't reallyundersrard
whal
the butler was saying.
"Wlether rhey'reagainstit or not. we rvelcoor
iwren MasterEdward{d
you,"thebutlercontinued.
young,hewasa very brigbtchildandhis parerrt'hd

It PromiseOf Romance

105

futur.Butashegrewolder,his
a ourse.Hebegaoto rebelagainst
at this time that his parcntspassedon,
more ald moreout ofcontrol
ofus who serveMastel Edwad PraY
Everyorc is quite glad to seetbat he's
down."
.." Salsukimulmurd,
leal conversationwith the man,Satsukl
He
was,indee4a goodprsotr.
these.
to deceivefine poplelike

they'd all hateme the mhute they

Satsukisai4 stsiking
little disappointed,"
with Edward,on their way back
" Edward'sresponseseemedforcd
there'sa parly next month," Satsuki
manfler.

" was the rcply- "And lhe crowl prince


or otherwill betbere,too. He's
i! secret-"
prirce?" Satsukishoutedin surpnse
the klowledge of the imperial family in
"abovethe clouds," beyondthe world
He loew he would neverin his life
tbem.The royalty of other countries
distantto him. But to look at how
was, it seemedtbat roYaltywasn't

106

KyokoAkrsu

arything speialfor an aristocratlike hin.


"Are you going?,'Sahuki asked.
"It doesrll involveme.',

hecouldo.lima8r,(r ,ing

PromiseOf Romance

107

Itey paircdoff io datce, there


boys.The girls in the daNe
hatedbeiog pairedwith
't drtrce.Onceyou werebmodedas
gi s neverpaireduP with Youagaid.
bena horrible dancer.So he'd never
aad pmcticingnevermadeany
gapbetweenbim andtheotheBonly

,^ sucn
"oltnon.r.
^..-. all
-1..1
ro
etegant
partythata cro*n prrnL,c
r,us16
6!
atteDding.
He wouldn'lhavethestighiesrrcl..ro.ho\|
h
Denave.
and]ou.recomingq lh rrc...
.''Ofcourse,
rowaro s vorcewaspitiless.
Satsukiweirt pale.. tsut don.t you ncedpefct
manne$to go to something
like that?,,
stan
inrensire
Eaintng
uhcr s.. qel
. . .. _"You'll
back.' Edwardsmiled,amused.
"Iraining for what?..Sa6uli squ( ,(u
"To nol erhbarrass
yoursetfatLhenrrrr ,.rd
to becomea ladythatno onewill beableto lindtaun
with," Edwardanswered,voice matter_of.facr.
satsuki felt faint.

told Edwardaboutall ofthishavetold me soooer,"Edward


q wastedso much tim teachingyou how

Thelessons
wermorein h" r,rla ,,, ,',",ot,,
"ShallWeDance?"than.,My FairLady...WhenSarsukl
got homefiom school,waltzlessons
werewaitingfor
him. He danced,followitrgthemusicandEd$ad s
lead"You're pretrygood for u besinn.r.- Edtu"rd
said,soundingimpressed.
"We leamedit at school,"Satsuki.arJ.rumioS
red.He dancedpoorlyfor someone
who.d,rlread)
takenclasss,
Therchad beenfewer girls than boysin the

makestwo ofus." Edwardsmiled again


i softly on the lips.

I wasn't rally thinking," Satsukisaid.


havetime." EdwardsmiledkirdlY.
was caDtivatedby Edward'sface for
It rra! perfect,fruly faultlss,and tbe
just for him. He still hadn't gotten
Edwardlookedat him, his heari
bccamedimcult to breathe.
ing \rrong?" Edwardasked
be'd suddenlystoppedspeaking.
glad I met you, Edwar4" he answered

still in the niddle of pt'actice, so that s

i acceptedthe kiss without any prctest

t08

KNko Akitsu

As Marcbbegan,tte dayofrhe pdl] ,rnr\ed


tl|e roomnervou\l)unrl( he
, . ^Eowa.rOraceo
wattedror
satsuktto get feady.
"Wouldyou calmdowq Edward?,.
Nc\illeeid
shalply.
"Calm down?Are you sayingI'm not catm?,.
his ftiend fired back,facetwisted.He seenrcdupsel.
,.I,lljust leaveyou
Nevilleshrugged.
atolc.,,
Theblondmanplunkedhimselfinro.tchai.
.
gloom-y.
NevillehadDeverseenhis fiiend Eelliis
irritable at the slightestthings.Even whentnc suoway
hadbeetrbombedby tefforiststhr.ee
yean errlr.r.hed
seelnedufiufred. Ard now,to lee him so coDrptcrery
workedup overa party...he
musthavebeenjncredibly
womed for Satsuki.
Edwardhad changedlately.For one rhing,he
dmnk less.Until recently,he would drown his boredom
in alcoholevery day.And doq thoughhe'd ncver
showntbe slightestconcemfor anythingbefore.hewas
wonied for Satruki as if for himseli
"Maybe this is a good thing.'.
Nevilledidn'twhole-heartedlv
this
embrace
idea,however,sincethe changewas d;e not lo him.bul
the suddenappeamnce
ofa youngAsian boy.
"May is certainlytaking a long timc to gel
ready.I wonderifhe's all righr."hesaid,\oicrnc
Edward'sconcems.
He felt thaf he undeBtoodEdward'snind
completely.They had spentenoughlime togelhcrfor
that.But hestill hadoo powerto changehis liierd.

.'*{ PromiseOf Romance

109

!o room for failure this tim6," Edward


would alsob attendingthis
were to be rcveale4 the scadal miSbt
Eoglaad.

door openedand Satsukiappeared,

complete.
gasped
&spite himself.
waswearinga formal, white, Chines8 deepslit up the thigh and m slip.
de-rolatedthe silk material.Edward
it froft a top designerand sd
pric. It suitedSatsuki'sslenderbody
it idpossible to believethat he was
His black hair was sweptup, reveitlinga
ofthe napeofhis neck.Perhapshis
!o the effect. But therewas no mistaking
womaDcloakedin Asian mystique
whispered,"May, you look Iike a
smiled brightly. "Good evening,Mr.
tro." Neville wavedthe nameaway.
trlk to me so formally."
took one of Satsuki'shands.which
by long lace gloves,andplaceda kiss on
you are [uly beautiful," Edwardsaid

ll0

KyokoAkiB

passionately,
with no haceofhis formerimpalrence.
Thepassion
ofhis voiceimplied$ar.hadN.\
iJte;r
beenthere,hewouldhavesnatched
SalsdktUnInhh
arns andkissedhim.
"Thankyou." Satsukiloweredhis c) cs
ascolor
floodedhis cheeks.
"So Mar'b intelestedtoo, eh?sigh.o\eruI.ilI|rrdbl
..
..".:ill..l",.or_,"small
lne.leeltng
thathehadbeenabandoned
Srrrr.
r.sas
uncomfortable.
Up until noq it hadalwar.sbeenhim
by Edward'sside,no matierwhatcold lo;ks rhly
hadreceivedfiom e\erlooewho sa* th.r,,r, .:.iher
Edwardhimselfhadwantedhim there.Bul row.trwas
obvrousthat he wasar intmder.
At thatmoment,thedoorbellrang.
"I'll getit. It's probablyyour dri\eL..\cville.
unableto stayin theroomanothrmomcnt.Ncnl!odre
door
But hewasrendered
speechless
bv rhc
tnexpected
visitorat thedoor Insteadofthe dri.!crit
wasa blondewooan with a bearingsomeu.hL!
sinilar
to Edward's-it washis cousinAnlelica.
H hadbennegligentin nol checkjne$bo\'as
at thedoorbeforeopeningit. Ifil hadbeeni terorist
hecouldhavebeenkilled beforehe knewt{ hal$as
happening.
"Is Edwardhere?"Thewomansnlileo
seductively.
"And havewe met somewhere
bclbc?'
"Yes.at thelateLordArgyle'sfuneral.he
,_
replred.
"l remembernow.You,reEdwards school

irA Promiseof Romance

lll

said.
that you remember"The comer
twitched.
to hershiniogblondehait,she
\r,ith a gacefut face,seductiveied
The womanbeforehim was a!
I But it was dargerousto judge this
alotre.
and call Edwardfor me, would
ordered.
, but I'm not surehe wantsto see
A0gelica'sgreneyesglardat
him asideandwent futo the sittlng
hercousin'sname."Edward!"
?' Edward,just coming out to the
lookedbewilderedby the sudden
cousin.
gapelike sucha fool,"Angelica
had no idathat you would be coming'
said.
I've beenreaiting for quiie sometime
an invitation," Angelica said.
raisedan eyebrow "Oh?"
I finally got tired of waiting andcame
Now then,let'sgo."Angelicacommanded.
where?"Edwardasked.
only Daturalthat Edwardwas confused
assertiveness.
ight'sparty,of course."Angelicasnapped.

112

said.

KyokoAktsu
"Unfortunalely.
I abeadyhavca dit(.. l d\raru

Angelica
cuthim offquickl)...Ihar.rror-,,
problem.
" Sheseemed
lo think theu orld , .r ,rocAo,n
her.
"I'm afraidt ca!'t takeyou to theparry,
_
Edwardsaid"So you'regoingto embarmss
rncl Angelica
shrieked.
"Embanass
you...?"Edwardtrajlcdoll
Nvilledidn\ lhinkAngelicapn\\(*id ,u.h
delicarefeelings,eirber
'An),1lr'ay,
it's timeto go, Edward...
Ne\ille
nudgedbis friend.It hadonly beena wastcLrrllmcrc
arguehere,
"My fatheris waittog.roo.Lel : g,) \fpciica
serzed
Edwards handandsErtedpullrn!ll|nr.{.r.
"Angelica!'.Edwardprotested.
..Wlat?
Thewomanstopped.
Edwafd.there!
a rumorthatthequeenherselfwillbemakingrrr
appeamnce
lonight.
Areyou\^illingto din) tl( lJ((of
thetamilyin frontofher?.'
Satsuki's
bodystiffenedandheclunerlr
Edward
s arm,asifbeggingforhisproteclj,,n
lerille
hadseenSatsuki'sfacgrowingsteadlly l(r. lt $as
n
clearthatAngelicawasfrighteninghim.
Edwardpeeredat Satsuki'sface.hiseve'
nrrowingwith concem.Satsukitookedup at hinr.eld
snrmngwlth worry.
s
Edwardsmiledgentlyandsqueezed
Sarsuk!
handslightlyto comfonhim.

A PromiseOfRomance

113

were beingtoo optimistic this


therewill b plentYofother
theo turnedto bis fiiend. 'Neville,
eDtustdSatsukito Neville's care,
io accompanyAngelica.

idaled dumbly at what was happning.

tbeefrorthehadput intopreparingfor
lothitrg.
that woman?"SatsukiaskedNeville
hrd sone.He couldn't restrainthe
in his voice.
Atrgelica,Edward'scousid,anda
b.coming his bride," was the explanation.
went off in his head.The two had
al,rabyondeventheir beautifulgolden
faces.
he dosn'twant to marry her.Who
sheis?" After a Dause,he murmured,
is!'t she?"
bad beenincomparable,evenbside
wouldmakea goodcouple.indeed.
's a lol goingon behindthescetres."
'"Thatwomanyou just saw aLoveawayher
Well, it's going to take a while to explain,
we go to lhe party,too?"
Edward?"Satsuki'svoicewas
Edwardwas Edward.He had run of

KyokoAkitsu

with his cousinthemomentshecalledhim. lt \,,as


partly Satsuki'sown fault for lieezing whcnhc heard
that the queenwould attend,but all he had \unrcd was
rcassurance
ftom Edward.But tojust be lefi behind
instead...
''l[he hadjustsaid yoult bc.ti\t .
Remembering
how EdwardandAng.,lica
had
beensDuggling
madeSatsukifeelirrilated.Ie honestly
felt thathewastheonewho belongedby Ed\.rd\
srde.
"But hedoesnIneedme."
Somehow,
thisthoughtmadeSatsukis hcafi
ache.
"We'll meethim there,"Nevillesaid. ttesides.
you heardthatthequeenis supposed
an
1()bc nraking
appearance.
Youcan'tlet thechancto attenda farty
like thisjustslipby!" He grinned,tryingroc|rourage
Satsuki.

Whentheyanivedat thepao,. Satsuki\{as


stnck by theoverwhelming
feelingthalhe$Is ona
movieset.A tide ofwell-dressed
ladiesandgenlli:men
nppledbeneath
a sparklingchandelier
He spottedEdwardimmediately.
No ntaller
oul
how largethecrowdwas,EdwardalwaysslLxrd
But thereweresevenllaye$ ofpoplesuroulding
him andit didn't look like Satii couldgerclosePlui
lith s0
thisEdward,smilinglyafiablyandsocializing
manypeople,seemed
lile an entirelydifferentperso!
to the Edwardthat Satsukiknew.

APromiseOf Romance

ll5

was onceagainmadeawarcof the


distancebtweenthe two ofthem.
oncethis farcewas over,he and
b completesfangersto eachother.He
neverseethe ma! againfor the rest of
two carne,too?" BeforeSatsukiand
Fach Edward,Angelicacdne up to them.
ofred wine h onehandard smiled at
hadn't noticedAngelica'sdressat
becauseshehad beencovereduD
!ow, he sawthat it was red with large
exposedher cleavageand the small of her
o bold dress,and he had trouble deciding
her.
't ktrow who you aror why you're
Mward, but I'm gettingtiredofyou."
gaze
pointedlyat Satsuki.Th.
^iW
waspowedul, andevenmore
so coming
'll haveto talk to Edwad aboutthat. tt has
wiih me," Satsuti repliedrebelliously.
aren't vou cheekv!Let me makethis
is loo goodfor you."Angelica
not for a womanlike you?" Satsuki
you're quite a bit older thanhim."
's eyebrowsshot up. "What do you

a bir'?"
was listeningto theirconversation

n6

KyokoAkitsu

with greatamusement.
"It's lot a big enoughdifferenceto niilncr,,.
Angeticasaidhaughtily...yoq on theotherhand.
seen
quiteyoung.I wonderifyou knowwhatil ,rcans
lobe
the wife oflord Argyle."
'No," Satsukisaidabruptly.
"Youhaveno business
beingin thenr{vte
family," Angelicaspatout.
"l'm not particularlyinterested
in berngthe
wife ofan aristocrat,"
Satsukisaidcalmly
"Everyoneprtendsto be in it lin. lo\ c rr lirst...
Angelicamocked."But theychangetheirtLuesoon
enougb.Youshouldn'tactso superior.'
"Like you?" Satsukifired back.
Angelicamoveddeftl, tippingrheconrcnts
of
herwineglassontohis dress.She'dempliedjt in the
bliDl of an eye.
"Don't you thinkyou shouldgo honrcbctore
you embarrass
younelf anymoreioday?"Angclica
laughedloudly as shemovedaway.
"Womenareterrifoing,"Nevillemurtered.
Satsuti nodded,dazed.
on
"ShelikesEdwardenoughto lhrorr'!\'ine
me in fiont ofall thesepeople?"he wondercd.
"You'reso naive,May,"Nevillesaid.''l hatt
not why shedid it. She'saftertheArgyleforrune.
"ls thatreallyall?" Satsukiprodded.
llo0r
"Yah.But you can'tgo ou; on tbeLlance
like that,"Nevillesaid,lookingat Sarsuki's
dressIt .
frushation.Thewine had stain;; a l;;; ;ed sporonth:
whitedtess."I'U go getEdward.Youstay-overthert.Mal'

APromiseOfRomance

ll7

bad no choice.Neville Dointedhim


of one ofthe pilla$ in lhe hall
ryould seehfui, and wheretheaewere a
a good spot to wait itr. He took one
saisaDdbeganwatchingthe peopte
pur couplcsthat seemedto get alongfne
tut who tumed away ftom eacbother
no one waslooking. Younggids
unusedto partres.Groupsofyoung
Youngmen
tp the men in attendance.
fighting for the attentionof beautiful
awayin tle comerlike this.he began
tuman behaviorsemerseall aroundthe
thesepeoplemightbejustasusetulfor
therip to thezoohadbeen.This thought
a little.
caughtsight of oneyoung man
The yourg man wasprobablyin his ea y
hair. He was seatedbesidethe wall,
the rins of dancersin lhe centerofth
him to talk. He semedto
Blf. Satsukifelt a certainaffinity with
manseemedto feel no desireto actively
the party.
Edwardwasjust aswrappedup in
trc peoplearoundhim as ever He still

Satsuki.
Satsfi couldn't find Neville in the sea
wassuddenlyoppressedby the thought

I 18

KyokoAkitsu

that Neville and Edwardhadboth completcl) Ibrgolei


abouthim.
Thenhe appeared.
A smoothvoicecameftom aboreSarsuki\
head."Are you herealone,miss?,'
Raisinghis face,he sawtheflaxcnhaired
nar
who hadbeensittingon theoppositesideotLrrrroom.
.
"My escortis arouDdsomewhere.
hcreplied
hesitantly.
"Yourescortis very cruel,then,tojun leave
a
womanlike you sittiDghere."Theman'sEnglishhada
peculiaraccent-He wasapparently
not a nativc[nglish
sPeaker
'No, my dressgot dirry,so I can'tco o t with
theothers."Satsukipointedat thewine slaln.
"That'stoo bad.Wouldyou like to conreoul
to thebalconywith me?"theyoungmansuggested.
"We coulddaacetherewithoutworryingabouttour
clothes."
He didn'tseemlo baveanyultcriurIrrr\cs
felt
Rather,heexudedsophisticatiol.
He probablyiLrsl
sorryfor Satsukiwho wassittingall alonc.
Satsukiwantedto hy out thewaltzcshc had
Facticed so hardto leam.
"Of course,"he accepted.
Themanwmppedhis whitejacketaround
Satsukito coverup thestainon his dress.andlh. lwo
wentout ontothebalcony.
"Are youcold?"themanaskedatenlively
"l'm nne,"Satsukireplied."But horvareyorr
without your jacket?"

APromiseOf Romance

ll9

titod was too hot, so now I feel just


rlplied.

wasout butwascoveredbYa fine


couldn'tbeseencleady.
if theyhavea word to describethal
theydo in Japanese,"Satsukithought
ftom the hall floatedout onto the
you like to dance?"the oan asked.
aodded.
look eachother's handsand began
to the music.Satsukihad hated
classes,but noq dancinghere like this,
ftn. All thanksto Edward.
Jaouliv ir1this country?"the man
I'm a.nexchalgestudentfromJapan,"

demurely.
beento JaDa[a few times." The man
nradehim a mre specimenamotrgall the
was oo
who barclv knew whereJaDaD

whatarcyoustudyirg?"
," Satsukiinformedhim. "And you?"
The man laugheduncomfortably."I
to take in the sights.By the way. mrss,
," Satsukisaid.
," the mansaidhaltingly.
Inow Japanese?"Satsukiaskedin

)20

Ktoko Akitsu
'.Justsimplegreelings,,,
thentan.anltssed.

'' Konni.hira.. .konbanta. .ttt.tp,tt^tt.......,t...\t,....


Jalsuxr\rasstruckby a p(rucrtrrtr.,.
r.rl!ra
,
al
hearingJapanesefor tle 6rst trme ,n d!r\.
Really,hehad stubbomlychoicr Lo.,rcrurieal;
,
Japanese
liom his life in order to leanr lrlr\n
betrer

tlreslrusste\
hetDJ, ,,. ,r,a,sh
l:-r:.T:mbered
:
srncecomrnglo England.

andall rhehlr.rJ, r.rJc


teals well up in his yes.
"What's wrong, May-san?..Thcnrrr nopped
.
clanctngand looked into Satsuki.stacc
''l'm sorry." Satsuktsaid,
entbalrrssnr r ivas
jusl thinling abourJapan."
"May!" Edwardyellcd. appearingJlrJrtent!.
He
_
sou[cledangrt. l've beenlookinq Lf \or] \\ hcrcwcte
youi"
'Edward..." Satsukihaslilywif.d rL$.r\his
tears.
Edwardnoticedthe man besideSlrsLLkr
ond
sbppedwith a surprised
look on his trcc. .r,r f.
Alexanderl"
"Princc?" Satsukistaredat rhc ! or rr! nr]n.
srunned.
He knew that the crown princ. oi srJnr.cor try
or othcr had beeninvitcd to the Dart\,.And nf.. |5e.
he had lbund the young man ro ;e r;finrd rld sudngel'
intriguing.bul he neverwould havcintag||r.rl
irs
clancrngpartnerwas a p nce.
He rcmemberednow the rulcs of.t1qr.llc
lhat lbrbidlo$er-clds\
Feoplehom addr.-.i : rr.crr ,,
suf'enorc.lhc rer:ontheInanhadbc(n:rl.,rn.r lhchr'

122

KyokoAkitsu

wasn't becausepoplewereignoringhim. burLrecause


his statrswasso high that theycouldn't speakto hinr
Edwardtumedto tbe crown prince. Hasrny
fiaDceedoneanythilg to offeod you?"
"You're Lord Argyle's fiancie. May-sant" the
crown princeaskedSatsuki,ignoring Ed$ard.
"Y-yes."Satsukinoddedbashfully.Il. tehbad
for misleadingsucha nice personas the cror n prince.
"That'stoo bad.If you everchange\oru mind.
give me a call."TheprincewiDked,sugSeslrng
thatil
wasajoke.
''Really.
yourhighness.
)ou mu\tr<'rJir
yourcelf-"Edwardlaughed,but something
in hrs
expressionremainedhard.
The pdnce smiledgraciously. 'l m loffl Lel
give
you a pieceofadvic,though.Y()usho ldnl
me
let sucha bewitchingfiancdeout ofyour sighl.
darkly'
"l'll remember
that,"Edwardanswclcd
"E-excuse
me!" Satsukicalledoul t(' theprinc
astie manrctumedto thehall.His facellushcdbrighl
'
red. 'l apologizefor not knowing\ ho )orl $.rJ
lirr nol
Theprincebowed."And I apologize
realizingyou wereLordArgyle'sfiancdc.'
Satsukidismissed
theapology.shakinghis
headfiercely.

A Pronise OfRomance

t23

he looked like a regula! person,"Satsuki


I wasbored."
I faceflushedashe elaredat Satsuki.

ofr afierwhoevercomesalols
bo{ed?"
!" Satsukiwasshockedby the E|ao's
wasseeinsfor the frst time. He
himsell "He leantme his jackel and
together"
donesomethinghcredibly wrcng? He
utrde tandinethe rcasonfor Edward's
retrm his highr:ess'sjacket," Edwardsaid
thejacket fiom Satsuki'sshoulders.
i sneezed
asthechill nishtair touched
removedhis ownjacket and put it
I shoulders.But lhat was tbe only

rfrowed.

rrt goidg homenoq" Edwarddeclared

aldvehome.Edwardstill seemeduDset
staurchly silent the entiretime.
i wasstarting to get irritated, too.
he looked at th situatioq he couldn't

"Thatwasreallythecrownprilrcel' sa$uki
murmuredafter the youngman had lefl.
l'l&
Edwardlookedflabbe.gasted.Yotr,venl
him without knowing that?"

iog be haddonewrong.It wasall


ADgelicawa6theonewho hadstained
couldn't dancein front of everyone.
responsible
her
for not supervising
it wasEdwardwho hadleft him

t24

KyokaAkitsu

behindin thefirst place.


He got thatfar beforean ideastruckhrm...fi
not mad lhal I cameto,he party \|ith Ne.'ille nlier he
lefi me behind,is he?"
Thinking aboutit somemorc, hc realiredthat
Angelicawouldmakca truly faultlessfianceeMayb
Edwardhad seoher andchargedhis mind anoulrner
plan. lfthat wasthe case,Satsukiwasjust gettlngin tte
way.
He didn'tknowwherehe stoodor howlo act.
While Satsukiwaslostir his ownthoughts,
the car arrivedat Edward'sapartment.The t\{o qotinto
the elevatorsilently andretircd to thir sepiroteroorns
withoutsayinga word.
As Satsukiwaspullinghis dressofl: heIella
naggingdoubt.
"ll/hat haveI beendoing here?"
Ofcourse,he hadbegundoingall thistbrlhe
money.Bul hehadsufferedlbroughthecro'. Jr('ring
telhg
andwaltzinglessons,
bothofwhich hehated.b,"himselfthathewasdoingit for Edward.Olhc$1se'
heneverwouldhavetakenpari in thisalnroslcriminal
he
plan.He hadbeenableto comethis far bccause
genuinelythoughthewashelpingEdward.
And now all thateffortwasfor nolhrng
"If hebgoingto canceltheco ttL! lr'lst1
he'djusl hurry up and do ir," he thought.
More moneythanhecouldevenrnrlgilehad
Mo
beertiedup in thisilan fiom thevery beginning
livel
ifit wascalledoff, hewouldhaveno reasonto
this apartmentanymore.His life herehad beenmore

A PromiseOf Romance

125

he'd expected,but he could!'t be


's indulgedceany longer.

brd tuisbedchangin&hegalheredhis
to Edward'smom.
hocked on lhe door
in " Edward'svoice camebackto bim
a trsce ofbenevolence.
found lhe courage!o openthe door.
was lyitrg o! his couch,gulping
iont a glass.It wassomebrown liquid,
bra y or straightwhiskey.
tEcalledthat the manhad alwaysdrutrk
alcoholwhentheyfirst met.lt wasD't
way to drink.
I wantto lalk to you about
began,uDsureof how to broachthe
scowled."lMhat is it?"
's honible moodcowedSatsuLi,but
lo retreatnow.
you shouldmarryAngelica insteadof
a sbad marriagewilh me," he blurted
mcanyou wari to quit."A datrgfious
Edward'sface.
don't want to quit," Satsukisaid."I just
offif you marry ber"
slid of the coucband stooduDsilentlv
Satsukistammered.

t26

KyokoAkits

"Whatdo you intendto do after$is. Salsuki?"


Edwardaskedin a low voice, hoa$e with angcr
"I'llgo backto my old life, ofcourse. salsuki
replied.
"Won'tyou havehoublepayingyourtuition?"
Edwardpointcd out.
"I'll just find anothcrJob.
Satsukishrugged.
But t'd hateto botheryou morcthanI alread\have.'
"You foundyourselfa new golden
-{oose.
didn'tyou?"Edwardshoutedmockingly.
"Goldengoose?"Satsukiwasberildcrcdby
this completelyunexpectedwod.
'
"Don't actasthoughyou don t understand
Edwardyelledcoldly."You weregettingprcll! cozy
with PrinceAlexandertonight."
"Whatdo you mean'cozy'?"Satsukl
questioDed,
becomingevenmoreconfused.
all ofEuropefor a bride'
"He's searching
He fointeda{ingeral Satsul(i'And
Edwardanswered.
he'sgot his eyeon you."
"Youcan'tbeserious."SatsukilaugbedWhal
"Are vou salr g the
a ridiculous misunderstaDding.
cro$'npdnceha! fallenin Iovewith mel"
salsuhs
"Yes.Am I wrong?"EdwardSrabbcd
chin."With sucha prettyface,thiswork suitsyo
Edwardkissedhim-It *as a violenl
Suddenly,
kissd
bitingkiss,comiietelydifferentfrom lhegenlle
lhev had exchansedso manv times up ulllll llo\\' r
tos-Don t be stuDid-Elward:" sar'u[r lticd
away from him, but Eiward secured both his aflt.
r,o"
Edwardshovedhim down on the dorrble

A PromiseOf Romance

127

Dow,Salsukihad oo ideawbar Edward


m ffm-

ale yo! doing?" His voice was highfal. Edwardcould easilymurderhim the
tiEatingyou the way you deserv,"
ith a bitter smile.
Satsuki'sclothesoff. Satsukibesatrto
arnest,but he only succeededin ripping
atrdlositrg morebuttons.Fdward
over his headwith the scmosofruined
satsuki's voice was nearlya

's beltand
s handswentto Satsuki
offhisjeans.He pulleddownthezipper
handinside Satsuki'sunderwear.
Don't touch me!" Satsukiscrcamedin
welledup in his eyes.
'6 fingerswrappedaroundSatsuki
i shuddercdat the sensationofbeins
Dersonfor the first time. He lost all
had tom Satsuki'sunderwearofr alons
aDdnow loweredhis body between
legs,spreadwide on eitherside of him.
..I toldyou...!"Satsuki
yelled.
heatgatheringin the lower part of his
his eyesinstinctively,unableto bear
His heartwas beatingquickly. His
from theincredibleshamehe felt.

12 8

KyokaAkitsu

Edwardslippedonehanddown to$ard Sarsuki,s


mostsecrctplaceandslowly pressedonefingcr iDside.
'Nol Don'tl'Satsuki's
eyesbursr,.pcr'rn
surprise.His facehadflushedbrighlred In rr i.r,ranr
He couldnl eventry to get awaysinceEdrvardrvas
restraining
him. He couldn'tdove an inch.
Edward'sfingercontinued
to squimrrnside
Satsuki.
TearsrolleddownSatsuli'scheeksfrun the
feeling.'No..."
Edward'sfingerbrushedsomethiDg
insidehim
andhis bodyreacted,
his
rcsistarce.
overwhelming
"Ah!"The languidsighslippedbet$elnhrs
lips.
ttacing
"Do you like that?"Edwardwhispcred.
his tonguealong Satsuti's ear.
'Nnn...no..." Satsukicouldn'tcoDlrolhrs
voiceasEdwardstubbomlycoDtinued
to pressthrtoft
spotinsidehim. He couldtr'tenduremuchmoreoflhis
plea$rc, so muchgreakr tban any he had fell before'
His bodycontinuedto ridethefeeling,despitehis
shame.But hewasalreadynearinghis hmrt
"You can'tholdout tbreverlt s nol possible"'
A ruthlesssmilecameoverEdward'sperfecll)ce
shrillyashisback
screamed
"Aaah!" Satsu&i
arcbed.Thetensionin his bodyslowlyuncoilcdand
satsukireleased
theheatofhi; bodyinto td*ardt
haDd.
''Didn t your frieodsal schoollea(h!"u abo:l
theproslare?
Thal'swhathappns
i[]ou rlrrrruldlc'"
Edwardsaidwith a philosophical
air

A PromiseOf Romance

t29

.,pr..." Satsukiwhispered
betweenhusky
wasparalyzedandhe bad t ouble
's words.He didn't evenhavet[e
gently lowercdhimself onto Satsuki
over Satsuki'sslick, slightly warm
his eyestightly, Satsukiweakly tumed
His body,still sensitiveto the echoesof
ions,respondedio evenlhe gentlest
it hurt, Satsuki?"Edwardmumured.
shuthis eyestightandbit his lip
. It had beenlorture.both nentallv and
wantedto be released.
let go ofhis body.Satsukilet out the
lrer holding.
a rustlinEsoundandknew that
his clothesofr. Satsukijustbarely
8reyou going to do?" he askedin a thin
answering,Edwardheld Satsukionce
kissedhis eyelids.Thekisseswere
to provoketears,
...let mego," Satsukiappealed
lo
smiled."Whatareyou saying?Now
forreal."

130

Kyoko Akitsl)
"What did I do:" Edwardlhoughl |l.r,,.i aflcr
n

was all over.


Satsukiwaslying on thebedwith hrsarmslied
ovr his head.
Edwardhad rapedhim.
Until only a few minutesago,Edwards heart
hadbeenconsumed
by angeranda feelingofltlrayal
at thehandsofthe prsoD
he loved.It \ias thcllrsr
time hehadfelt sucha thing,sincehe hadne\erloled
anyonebefore.
WhenSatsukitold him he wantedlo grve
up his role,Edward'sangerhadbeenprshedlo rts
breakingpoint.
But it hadall stanedar lhe party.
hehadgilcr trpthc
WhenAngelicaappeared,
ideaoftaking Satsukito thepartyin orderlo prctect
and
him from her But Nevillehadbeenconsiderlte
Edward\
takenSatsukitothepartyhimself.foiting
plan.His worriesaboutAngelica
hadprovcdwellfoundedandwhenheheardwhatshe'ddonc.hed
rushedto comfort Satsuki.
WhatbehadfoundinsteadwasSalstrkr
chatting
happily with the crown princc.
-He
trad*en Aeeptyhurt He hadtlll asif
Satsukiwasbeingstoleniy anotherman He had
,"uflr"O:t.t fto*"pr""ioustatsukiwast,, tti'n'Bulil
wasclearthatSatsukithoughtnothingolil
When Satsukihadiuggestedlhat hc many .

A'e"li"4 ;;;;;tr";itn-g" n?"*ptoa.aiutt'"*o6'


possibleway,seekingrelease.
All that was left now wasregret

A PromiseOf Romance

131

are marks,"Edwardmurmuredas he
uki's restraints.
i staredat them as ifthey belonged
, His body felt heavyand a numb
his entirebeing.He hadbeenfreed,
want to moveeveragain.
left Satsukifor a momenl thencame
carryinga towel. He wiped off
unresistingbody tespectfully.

sorry,"Edwardsaid,forcinghimselfto
srrprisdwhenyoutoldmeyouwere
It \raschildishofme.I won'tforceyou
everagain.Let's forget the contract."
finallymoved,tuminghis headto look
8ul because
theolhermanwassittingon
bed,headdrooping.Salsukicouldn'tsee
's expression.
you going to marryAngelica?"he asked,
lspiteall his screaming,
whichhethought
voice.
question
his
lhe
cameoLrt
r easily.
:'Edwardsaidin a whisper.'No one
to be with her"
dot?" Satsukiasked.
. I desiredheronce."Edwardsaid.
She only caresabout her o\I,l1desiresand

questioned
herway of doingthings.But
I can't live like her Wealthand status
anlthing, but a burdento rne.Anyrvay,
call it a day.You can sleephere,if

you."

t32

KyokoAtiuu

Satsukishookhis headlimply. He satup


slowly. He felt a throbbingf'ain insidehim and
gdmaced.Edwardofreredhis handfor suppo( and
eventually,Satsukiwas ableto standup tiom thebed.
As soonashe stood,a warmliquidrando$n histhigh
andfell to thefloor.Itwasa mixtureofhis bloodand
Edward'sbodily fluids.
Griefwelledup insideEdwardat thetraceof
their violent, beartlessintercouneoul a handlo
"Satsuki..."Edwardreached
touchSatsuki'scheek.
"Don'ttouchme."SatsukipushedLd$ard's
harrdaway.
Edwardstopped."Satsuki?"
"l wantto takea shower,"Salsukisaidcoldly
"All dgbt," Edwardwhispered.
hrmt0
He put a robearoundSatsukiandhelPcd
lrder
the bathroom,then hrmedthe faucetand ran hot
for bim.
Leaveme alone,"SatsukireqLrested'
"Please.
Edwardnoddedawkwardly.
Satsuki,finallyalone,soakedhimsellirrlhe
bathtub,nowherenearfull yet,andlet walerlion tne
tltecttts
showerpolr overhis head.Thehot waterstLrng
on his alms.His eyesbeganto fill with lears
He neverimaginedhewouldbc rapcdby a
man,
Whatin god'snamehadgonc$rr'ngl
Ererythingin hiilife with Edwa; hadhccrrJ misla'
l0
H! recalfedNeville'swotds. I dont tant
seeyou become the plaything ol the ri(h

A PromiseOfRornance

133

he really wasnothing more lha[ a


iime. But Satsukihad still beenfooled
lbat Edwardwas a goodperson.
back he realizedthat he hadD'thad
of Edwardwhen theyfi$t met.
evm miseaneyebrowwhenhe'd heard
died.To him, shewas nothing more
sho could be bought.
so was Satsuki.
't stopcrying. He let his tearsffow
he madeup his mind.
was nothing to do, but rcgrct foEver
haoDened.
But what was morc
what would haDDen
Dext.tfhe ran home
btweeohis legs,he would neverget
back.
Dow that he had beDblioded by

xraslhe filst mistakethat had startedit all.


/re colrtract," Satsukithought,
any money.I'll gtue it all backto
fiaybe he'll start to realize that you can I

Satsukicameout ofthe batbroom.


ing in the middle of the rcom, pale,
" he began,his voice faltering. But he
ule powerto rnoveSatsuki'sfeelings.
happyaboutit, but I needthe money,"
ice like ice."So I'll continueworking
this,Lo.dArgyle."his voice

becameheatedashe hissed,"I'll neverforgiveyouas


longasI live."
He left for his own mom.

Act IV

As YouLike It

weekspassedby in a blur after the night


Satsukiand Edwardwerealonetogether,
edchother only asmuch as absolutely
t was quit fortunaiethat the apatttreDt
and had so many differeot roomsand
botewasany numberofrooms Satsuki
up iDifhe didtr'twaDtto see
Neville cameto visit. or wheDthev went
on weekends,
theywerefriendlywitb
ifnothiry at all hadhappened.
a straDgefeelitrg.
weaelike actorswho hatedeachothet
but playedlhe bestof ftiends onday, Neville cameto Edward'saparhneDt
like !o speedthe plan up a bit," Edward
"I doo't tbiDkAlglica will give up
stay the way they arc much longer."
hue," Neville agred."Who l(l|ows,

partyin May Cetshere,Jid{


engagement

136

KyokoAhtsu

Angelica might be standingbesideyou insteadoi Mav


Wly notjust movethemarriageceremonyUp.Vat,
your schoolis Soingon springbreaksoon,righrl '
Satsukinodded."Starting on the 26d' '
"And when doesthe next semesterslaltl '
Nevilleasked.
"April 20b," Satsukisupplied.
"So that'snea y a month,"Nevilleligurcdout
"We'll tbinl<of somethingright away.Doesthal q ork.
Edward?"
EdwardandSalsuki'seyesmel unintentionally.
clearlyweighrng
Edwardgazedat Satsuki,something
on hrsmind but hecoulclnt beginto erpre.' s h rthe
wasthinking.SatsukialsodidD'tdaresayanything
They staredat eachother for severalseconds.
Edwardwasthe first to look away.
"l thinkSalsukjwouldpreferLhalqc $ :rf lh|'
up,too,"he finallysaid.
' Yeah.you musrbe gettiogliredol l I ll'i''
huh.May?"NevillecommeDled.
Ifhe couldclear
Satsukinoddedemphatically.
up all ofthis messduring springbreak,he d beablet0
whenthe nexlscnresler
focusall his energyon classes
started.And he'd be ableto 8et radyto takea breax
from schoolto ammoneyfor fuition after that
lhe
"Thenif neitheriarty hasanyobjectiorrs
Ne\Ill$J d
theplanis passed!'
motionto ameDd
cheerfully,neveroncenoticing the changein Edward
towardeachother'
andSatsuli'sdispositions
"ln excbange
for spendingmy entrre'PrtnBu,,
u*
breal here.l'd liketo go bomefor tendals hclorc

A PromiseOfRomance

137

Satsukisaidsuddenly.
lookedtroubledfor a momentyou uhappy with your life here?"Neville
like to focusod my classesfor a bit,"
ined. 'Theie's alsogoing to b a recital."
wlat areyou doing?"Neville
CherryOrchard'by Cheldov I play the
" Neville immediatelylost inter$t at the
old play.
DeoDleftom outsidethe schoolcome
asked.
ifthey sign up in advance.But not
ar interested,"Satsukiansweredwith a
hadn't beentherc,heneverwould
a thing.
'll let you go for l0 days,so work hard at
decided.
"We'll meetasainon the276
Claridge."
,ight." Satsukifelt a litde disappointed
was so easilygranted.Edward
't haveallowedit before.

i would go backto his room at the


oncea weekto pick up his mail and
ing machine,but it had beentwo
he'd really comehometo stay.

t38

KyokoAkitsu

Thefirstthiry he did wascheckhis ansvrering


machine.It showedl0 calls,but therervasonl!,one
actualmessage:"[t looks like you're out on thcto\:r,n
again.Call meback.A friendofyoorscalledusasking
aboutyou."
It wastbebrusque
voiceofhis oldcrbrother
He checkedthetime,it wasnoonin lapan.llis
fatherandbrotherwouldbeat work,so probrblvolrly
his motherwouldbehome.He madetheinremalional
calltiom hisroom.Buthegothrshous(\.rn.$ding
machine.It lookedlike his motherwasn'thonreerther
He lfl a briefmessage
andhurg up."ll s Srt\uki.I'm
doingfine.I'll call back."
He hadto keepan eyeon thephonechalges,
hc wls
but ifhe didn'tkeepin touchoccasionally.
afraidhis family wouldactlike hehadbeenabducled
oi mrll
Next.he tumedto theaccumulalion
He wassurprised
to oatchsightof a tlnrrlrar
lt was
nameftom his paston oneofthe envelopes.
fiom Yohei.H hadn'lheardfromhis fiicnd sincetheir
fightin the lastyearofhigh school.He huniedto opet
it.
"Dear Satsuki,
Wehada reunionfor thedranlirclub
the otber day andYamadutold
th"t vou tu.t" "t
-"
England."
(Yamada
hadbeena mutuallricndoflhclrsl
"l hadbeenlookingfor$'ard!o seeing
w$
you there,so I wassurprised.
That';just likeyoD I
a little surprised
at how few ofthe peoptetherewere
still doingtheater,
but I wasgladto hearyou rc still

A PromiseOf Romance

139

at it. I'd really like to seeyou again"


i smiled bitterly. "That's too bad.I can\
for a while yet."
flght hadbeenentirely his fault. But he
ree how little Yoheihad chaogd.

out somewiting paperto begtua reply


"Tharks for your letter.I'm getting
mre experiencehere.but l'm paying dearly
lhis personat my job and..."
realizedtharhewasaboutto writel,oYohei
He crumpledthe paperup and threw
ThefeelingsYohei'sltterhadawoken
wonderwhal Edwards doing."
i$age ofthe mancompletelyalonein his
floatedup in his miod.
ge ing drunk, as usuaL"
couldnererforsire Edwardfor whathe had
But it wasalsotrue that seeingEdward
afterwardhad beenunbearable.
seerfiedpretly dr1lnk then, too-.."

i shookhis head.Whenhe thougbrabout


had hurt him, he knew that no matter
Edvard apologized,he would neverforgive
the hatredandpity he felt for the blond
inside him, battling eachothet He knew
part of him that could neverhateEdwatd.
astoundedby that.

t40

KyokaAutsu

For tbe 6Jsttime in ages,Satsuli lei tlr school


ftom his orrr home.He hadto leaveearlierthanal
Edward'saparhnenl but he'd oarelesslywokcnuplike
alwaysandhadto rushout ofthe room.Ofcourse.hed
skippedbreakfasttoo. And he felt a little sadthalrhcre
wastlo one to saygoodbyeto.
Afterhe hadleft,thephonerangin hiscmpty
room.It rangfor longmomentsbeforelhc Jn,s cring
machinepicked up.
"This isAida.I'm in Londonrightno$.1'llcall
you backlatr."
It wasYohei.But Satsukiwasalreadylong
gone.

As the endofthe semesterdrew chscr. the


classesbecamemuchharderas everyonelried lo linish
the assignedwork for eachteacher.The sfudentswere
alwayswiped out after lhe end of lhe semester.
If Satsukihad still bDat Edwards aparmetl
dinDe.wouldhaveappeared
withouthim Iiftinga
finger,but row he had to feDdfor himseli He didnl
want to usethe moneyEdwardhad given hirn no matler
whatAs he was mulling over what to do. on hisway
out of school,someonecalledhis name.
"Satsuki!"
His eyeswidenedat the perfectJapanese
proDunciation
ofhis name.He sawYoheistandlDg
besidethe schoolgate.
'No way," he whispere4 shocked.

A PromiseOf Romance

l4l

Eot?"his friend grinnedtoothilY.


arc )ou doing bere.Yohei?"Salsuki
"I've
oDspringbrak" Yoheiexplained.
to takea tsip to someforeign coultry,
savedup. Then I heatdyou wete m
. .Oh, did you get my letter?"
I saw it yesterday,"Sat$ukisaid.
that long to get here?"Yohei mused
't beetrat homelatelt so it probably
" Satsukiexplained.
ro that's why you neverpicked up all the
called," he said."But I'm glad you readit,
i smiled."l am,too."
didn't leaveon very goodtems," Yohei
. "I hadno ideawhatI'd do ifyou'djust
withoulrcadingit."
sorry.I actedlike sucha child." Two years
Saisukicould frnally apologizehonestly.
not vour fault. Satsuki.I actedlike a
" Yohei's facereddeled.
long areyou stayingherc,Yohei?'
changingrhe subject.
hereon an I liay package,"wasthe
last dght."
wav!" Satsukiexclaimed."That's too bad.
haveschool,so I can only seeyou this
weekendis gmd enough,"his ftierd s.id. "t
whalI'd do ifyou didn't wantto seeme."

t42

KyokaAkitst

"I know! Why doD'tyou staywith me instead


ofat a hotel?"Satsulisuggested.
"Thenwe cancatch
up at night."
"But won't tbat be too much troublc tbr !,oul.'
Yoheiasked.
"I boughta sofabedbecauseI wassurepeople
wouldcomevisit fromJapan,"Satsukisaid.-tsutno
one'scomeyet.I watt you to staywith me.Yohei.he
insisted.
"Really?"Yoheiaskedthenexclaimed.
*Great!"
"Butjust so you know,my roomis rcall_v
small,"Satsukiwamed.
"I'm not expecting
anlthingfancy.
laughedhappily.

Yoheicameto Satslki'sroomcarryinga
massivebag full of instantfood.
"You'vegottensmart,Yohei,"Satsukisaid.
impresred.Wten they werein high schoo).Yoheihad
beenvery easygoing
andhehadhadto lookoutforhis
friend all the time.
"As longasyou'vegot food.you'rehappy
Yohei quickly shutbis mouth.
"How canyou saythat?"Satsukiteased
"l broughtitso you wouldtr'tchasmeofl aller
two yea6," his fiiendcoDfessed.
"Well, it's a big help,"satsukisaid.satisfied
"My foodbudgetis reallytightthismonth.'
Yoheilookedrelievid."I'm reallygladI cartc

A PromiseOfRomance

t43

I'm glad we could seeeachothet again."


darnp.
're being melodramatic,Yohei," Satsuki
I could overget a hold ofyou wher I
said,almostplaintively. "I askedyour
it, and they told me ifl camcto seeyou at
6nd you. I'd beenwaiting for you
wa! movedalinostto tearsby Yohei's

daysof fim rushedby. Cominghometo a


in Japanese
wasa balJnon Satsuki'sspirit.
last alayofthe semesterarived. Tomorrow,
go backto Japanand Satsukiwould have
Edward.Classeswould end that aftemoon

of "TheChe.ryorchard."
ofteachersand studmtsfrom other
in the school'sstudioto watch the
usedthe personalityof Edward'sbutler
helo him createthe characterofthe butler
. Visitina Edward'sestatehad been
ior Satsukiafter all. He neverwould
what it waslike to be a butler without
Satsuki'scue.
he stcppedout into the spotlightshining
lomeone cade into the studio late,

144

Kloko Akitsu

chaftingwith the deatr.A slender,tall body.Shining


blondehair. Elegantmovements.
Satsukigulped.
He knewit wasEdwafd.
But, suprisedby themaD'ssuddenappearancc.
he
completely
blew his lines.

After theperformance
anda follow-u1r
meeting,they were free.The semesterwasor cr.
Satsukitumeddown an invitalion lionr a lriend
to go drinking, and hurriedto the lockcr roorn.Turighl
wast-helaslnigbtbet{ouldspeDdwilh Yoltcl
As heleft theschool,he sawEdwafdsrandrng
outsidelookingdepressed.
"Long time no se,Satsuki."Thenlin \nrilod
sadly.
Fora moment,Satsukiwasn'tsureho$ to
lhe
react,but sincetbeywerein publichadopted
friendlyrole.
"[t's beena while."He smiledbackpolrtcly
"Wlat are you doing here,s ?"
He hadbeenwonderingthatsincehc d htsl
spottedEdwardin tbe theater
"My companysupports
thisschnol.'lhe'nno
"The deaninvitedmeto comcwatchthe
explained.
recital."
"l see."Satsukiwasembanassed
lhethd
thoughtEdwardhadcometo seehim perfonrr'
"I didn't meanto distractyou." Ed$drdsaro
with a patheticlook.He musthaverealizedlhalit was
his tault thatSatsukihadmissedhis lines.'MaYlfat

A PromiseOf Romance

145

as an apology?"
sorry,but a fiiend fiom Japanis visiting

" satsukisaid.
bring your fiend along," Edwardoffered.
i consideredthis. Thanksto the stateof
Yohei wasatitrgonly the most humbleof
ibey went with Edwar4 his fiiend would
much nicer thinss. It would b a rare
for Yohei,too. And Satsukihad a feeling
Edwardby hi6self, the rnanwould just
"But I wantto
right." hefinallyagreed.
clear,['m not going backto work for
nodded."Ofcourse."
afiangedto meetat the Hotel Ritz's lobby

left.
Satsukigot homeand lold Yohei about
witb Edwardat tbeHotelRiE, his fiiend
e"l.ubemnt
andexcitedas Satsukibad
With an aristocrat?Awesome!"Yohei
"I'm glad I broughta necktie."
broushta necktie?"Satsukiasked.
guidebooksaid to," wasthe xplanation.
bepreparedfor arything andbring along
't going to at first, but my mom kept
aboutit. Blt you can't go to the Hotel Rilz
wearing a tie, canyou?'

t46

KyokoAkitsu

"Really?" Satsukiaske4 horrified


He thoughtback to the last time he \\,aslhere
He couldn'trcmember
evergoiDgexceptdrcsscd
asa
wornan.But all the menhad beenwearinghes.
"What'slvrong,Satsuti?"Yoheiasked.
"I don't havea necktie,"SatsukicoDt'essed
Yoheiwassuprised."Really']"
Ifsatsuki hadrealizedhis lapsesoonerhe
to borrowa lie tiorn,bu
couldhavefould someone
now ir wastoo late.Theonly thinghehadrhal$J. nrce
noughto wearto theHotelRitz wasa shorldresshe
lo $eal
hadbroughtwith him fiom Edward'sapartnrent
tomorrow.
He hesitated.
"Yohei,you can'ttell anyoneaboulu'lrrtyou
seetoday,"he suddenlysaid.
Yoheilookedconfused.
"Absolutely,aDdI mean/,o ore," heinsisted
"Ifyou tell anyone,I reallywill stopbeingyourlriend
thistime."
Yobeiwasintimidated
by SalsuLi\(\pr("ion
He noddedwithoutuDdeNtanding
why heco ldn l say
anlthrng.
Satsukitookthedressout ofthe cbset.fle
startedto changesilentlyin frontofYohei,whowas
flushingandgoingpaleby tums.

A PromiseOfRomance

147

wasalreadywaiting in lhe lobby.


we'rc late," Satsukisaid,smiling
seernedhuly surprisedat how Sat$uki
.didn't thinl you'd comedrdsed like lhat
" he remarkd.
didn'l haveaolthingelsethatI couldwearto
lile this,"Sabukirpliedglumly.
it looks goodon you," Edwardsaid
nrakes
me want to hold you in my arms
'It
here,
but I suppose
I shouldD'tin
rigbt

friend?"
," Satsuldsnapped.slappingdown
i seemedvery newousto be standingin
blond foreignerin the middle ofan exptrsive
But EdwardsDoketo him in his broken
Yoheianswered
in awkwardEoglish.and
passedin peace.
't forget our meetingtomorroq" Edward
quickly as they partedso that Yohei
uDdersrand.
He smiledwith reliefat Satsuki's

in
a thoughtyou hatdharingto cross-dress
" Yohei saidlater,asthey were strolling
Yohei'sflight wouldleaveearlythencxl 'no'nrng'
F
sotheybrcughthis bagswith themto the hollhehad
,"nt"i. n
t"n it tt o" th* headedto ihe meetingsPo!
"y

of the Thames.

hateit Dow,too," Satsukisaid.


wasreally incredible,"Yohei

148

KyokoAkitsu

commented.
"I neverthoughtthatI'd meela rcal
nobleman
whenI cameto Lo!don."
"There'sa lot goingoo trctweenrr'. '
muttered.
"He's not your patIon, is he?"Yoheicl cd
Satsukidoubtfully.He wasusuallysomewhar
din. brt
sometimes
he couldbereallyobsewant.
"Of courseno!" Satsukisaid.
"But hesaidsomething
about kissiDcand
'holding'you,didn't he?"his fiiend insisted.
"You rDusthavemisheard,"
Satsukisaid.lrying
to brushit off. "Didn't he sayhe wassurpriscd
lo see
me dressedlike this, too?"
"I doD'tudderstand
Englishat all. I guess.
Yoheiconceded.
"I don't know"
Satsuti's shouldersslumped.
"But thercwas somethingaboul himconuDueo.
"What?" Satsukiaskedwarily.
"He seemsto like you a lot, Satsuki.hislriend
said.
Satsuki hied to laugh the comment oll- 'Wllat

areyou saying?"
"Well, I...I likedyou a lot, too,so I
Yoheisaid,staomeridg.
"What?" Satsukisqueaked.
Yoheifacedhis ftiend squa.ely."t m in love
with you,satsuki.I thoughtit wasweird1bra nraoIo
fall in love with anotherman,and I sworc l'd neversay
anlthing,but t can'tgetit out ofmy mind."
Satsukididrl knowwhatto say. 'Yohei "

A PromiseOf Romance

149

to Londonto tell vou how I feel."


\fas twistedwith pain as he spoke.It had
confessio!.
hadneveruoticedhow his fiiend had
lhe entire lhreeyearsthal lbey werel,ogetber
The man hadbeena greatfiiend up uDtil
long haveyou felt this way?" he asked,
f:iend's agony.
sinceI fiIst met you," was the reply.
alwaystalk to me aboutacting,and it made
i had only talkedto Yoheiaboutacting
orc elsewouldlisten.
"l nver
m sorry,"hsaidsincerely.
sYealLI thoughtso."Yobeisaid.'Youdon't
effectyou haveon people.I'm theonewho's
fortellingyou all thisweirdstuff."
i shookhis head.He hadbeenshocked,
happythat Yoheihad comeall the way to
inp him.

l'm gladI couldfinallytell you thetruth.


for you to rjectme outright. But you're a
Satsuki."Tearsran down Yohei'sface as
Satsukiwasstruckdumb.'Yohei..."
just haveone morc thing I want to alk you,"
smiled."Wlat is it?"
lookeduervous."You rememberthat

150

KyokaAkilsu

pamdy of SnowWhite we did in junior year'lyou


playedthe princessand that seniorKawaguchiplayed
lhe prince.And for the lastscene.he reall) ki,\cd;ou
atrdeveryonewa! talking aboutit."
Satsukinodded."Yeah."
"I wassojealousofKawaguchi'spart. yohei
admitted."But I put him up to it, sincI'd alrcady
givenup on you."
Satsukihesitated.
"Sorry.I'm just beiogstupid. Ynh(.
suddenly,
conscious
of Satsuki's
reaction.
his
Satsukishookhis headandlightlypressed
lipsto Yohei's.
"mis is an dfectionate kiss.
He rccalledhis practicewith Edward.
"...Thankyou,"Yoheiwhispered.
Satsukiknuckledhis friend'shead.'lt s werrd
to seeyou so submissive."
"I guess,maybe,"Yoheisaid.
'T.Io,it is," Satsukiinsisted.
"Yeah.I guessit is." Yoheiadmiltc,j.
They bulst out laughingat the samc dnent'
Thenextmoming,afterhe'dseenYoheiotl at
theairport,Satsukiwentto theHotelClaidge
last
wlen hethougbtaboutwhathadhappcned
night,his feelingsweremuddled.Yohei'scont-essloo
hadstimulated
old memories
thatSatsukihadsealo
awayin a comerofhis mind.Backthen,whenev"r
he hadhadto dressup asa girl, healwayshadto kiss

A PromiseOf Romance

l5l

vas only a light touchoflhe lips, dothiry


he had still hatedit. And desDitehow
lhekisswas,he hadn'twelcomedkissing
to be honest.
only exceptionswere lbosekisseshe
Edward.He still didn't welcohe them.but
thenr-Probablvbecausethev had kissed
he had becomenumbedto themhe got io tbe hotel.Edwardwasalready
6e lobby.
wasnl stlle you would cometoday,"the marl
uncharacteristicallyqrlnemble smile.
not?" Satsukismiledseductively.
your friend fiom Japanleft today.
hight bavewantedto leavewith him,"
'tbe silly.I've got you." Satsukigavehim

lips.
's body stiffenedfor a moment,thenhe
Satsukiaway.
i had['t exDectedthat reaction.UDtill
usuallybeenEdwardwho initiated the
was suretherewas a deeDerreasonfor that.
:t belp feeliq bitier Did his perfomunce not
we doingA todayor B?" he aske4
[imself.
A routinehadthemostimmediate
appeal,
meantspendingthe day at the hotel
The B routine involved going out and
affer thefumeal. B had the advatrtaseof

t52

Kyott Akitsu

putting them ir the spotlightin fiont olcrowds of


people.
'T\Jeither
one,"Edwardslaled.'ue rq.g6'rt
backto my apartment.Neville will be therc.roo-soI'm
not likely to losecontrol."
Satsukinodded,startled.It would havebeen
awkwardbeing alonetogetheranyrvay.If Ne\ rewas
goingto bethere,thatwouldbea gooddrstrrirr,,n

Nevillecameoutto meetthemasdrcyardved
at theapartment.
"Hey there,May.Theheroinehas
arrived."
"H-hello."Satsukiwasstruckby ho$ .icalous
he felt thatNevillehadkeptdroppingby Fd$ards
apartment
wheneverthemanwanted.whilc Salsukihad
beengone.
"Come in, come in," Neville in!ited as

really was his home.


Theirdinnerhadbeensetout on lhedrnlng
room table.
"First,to thesuccess
of our plan.' Nevillewas
in extremelyhighspidts."Ma, Iistento mc. ,n a welq
there'sgoing to be a hugeweddingparty at thc house
in Do6ett.Originally,we weregoing10havethepary
F
at a hotelin London,but if woJgoaoul therernight
trouble,so we changed
our minds."
pa4l
Satsukinodded.He knewtheengagenrenl
hadoriginallybeenscheduled
for May,so (heirplans
had beenmovedup by a month.
"And whenis theweddilg?"he inqrtircd

A PrcmiseOf Romanc

153

don't panic," Neville wamed,"but in the


party,you're Soingto go out and cha[ge
drcss.And theDthe engageme
into th weddilg cerci[oDy.
day after the party,you leavefor your
i gulpedunconsciously.Things were
than he'd expected.

then it's over," Neville concluded."You


to yow old life and Edwardwill leave
the excitementdiesdorrn."
shouldI do until the engagen l mean,

party?"Satsukiasked.
rrant you to stayhereio the aparhrent

It wouldn'tbevrymuchtun ifyou
ki&apped,"Edwardsaidwithoutemorioo.
Satsfi echod.
'rc smdingout iDvitations
to theparty

Edward
explained
furt}er"we don'tknow
might try and do ifthey don't like the
noddedretuctantly.In I 0 daF, be
ftom this farce.He felt more conflicted

though.Whywasthat?
it meantleavins Edwardforever

at the aparhnentwasnothing,but suffering.


they were alonetogether,Edwardard
spoke,evenwbenthey ran into eacb
completelyalonein a hugeroom, speaking

154

A PrcmiseOf Romance

KyokoAkitsu

to no onewasboring,andSatsukifell like he\as going


qazy.
While lying aroud io bd,his thoughrs
ddfied
to Edwaid. He krew the manwasout theresomewhere.
h addition to his grandhomein London.
Edwardhad an estatewith an aImy of sen antsand
hadneverin his life hadto work.At first.Satsukihad
beensupdsedthatsomeone
so blessed
by lile actually
existed.But the man didn't actuallyseemvery happy
an\ :rlr(rtron
Hisparenshaddiedwilhoute\erpayrng
and
to him, his relativesweretryingto stealhis fonLure,
he was being forcedto ma!ry.
"l wonderwhat Edwardwill do on(e lti! thal
maftiage is over"
Try asbemighl.Satsuki
couldr'tinr.rJirrc
arything, but Edwardbeingswallowedup by hrs
negligentlifestyleagain.
Therewasa knockat thedoorandSatsuki
jumped up.
Edwardopenedthedoorandstoodby it wilha
painedexpression.
"Theywantto do yourdresshttrng
andmakeuptestin theliving room,"hesaid.telling
satsukiwhatwasneededin asfew wordsaspossiblc'
Satsukinoddedsilently.lvhen he !',errtto the
living room,he sawa purewhiteweddingdressalong
with dozensofotherdrsses
in variousbrightcolors,
waitingfor him.Any girl wouldha\rebenenraptured
by the
at lhe sight,but Salsuliwasonly oppressed
mountainof swirlingcloth.
"How manydo I needto wearin
asked,horrified.

he

155

for the engagementparty and one


for fhe cercmonv.So two total." a
one of the derigDersconEactedon
lotal secrecyI only red to choosetwo dresse$,why ale
others?"Satsukiwondered.
won't know which one is besturtil you try
we?" lbe womanpoinledout.
" SatsukilookedamuDdfor atr escale.but
disappared.He was thenforced to try on
that he felt like a doll.
thev had chosenthe drcsses-the
his hair
urived. Thisgroupmanipulated
slatheredmakeupon his face,and when
he wasexhausted.
,his punishmentfor complainingaboul
Satsukigrumbled.
was a lot to do to preparefor the
l0 days,and it seemedhe wouldn't have
boredanymore.

wali atxlous,

act would be over in a little more thana


lhat happened,he wantedto apologizeto
for what had happenedthat night. But hc
to find the right time ro saysomething.
Satsukiwasobstinate.
neverlo8ve .vouas long as I live. '
the restofhis life, Edwarddidnl thinl he
forget $e pale face that had glarcd al him tben.

156

KyokaAkitsu

In publicandwith Neville,Satsukiacrcd
friendly,but as soonastheywerealonelogctl)er.
his
behaviordid anabout-face
andhewouldnr sava single
wordto him. Edwardhadbegunto understano
rnc
depthof Satsuki'saDger
He hadbopedthathewouldhavean
opportutig to apologize
by havingSatsukisla\ xt rfie
apartment,but it had beenfiuitlss.
In orderto escapethe pain. he endeduf)
reachingfora bottle.Eversilc his parenrs
h d d'edit
hadbenlike this.Whenever
gol lo bcroo
something
muchfor him, hecouldonly be happywhjled nkxrg.
But sincehe'dmet Satsuli,herealizedhe prelcffed
beingwith theman!o beingdrunk.But now.rhcpain
had retumed.
. \ isltut
Suddenlythebell rang,announcing
"Must be Neville."
Edwardwasn'tthinkingvery clearlyduc
to beingdrunk.Whenhe blindlyopenedthcdoor
Angelicastoodbeforehim.
Thedoormanpostedat thebuildilrgenlmnc
checkedall his visitors.But it waswell kno*n lhal
AngelicawasEdward'scousin,so thedoornlrnhid
simplylet her in.
"Hello,Edward."Angelicasmiledbrighll!
"Wheremightyourlovelylittl fiancdcbcl'
"I wonder,"Edwardmurmured.
"l'd love to seeher,"his cousincrooncd
"I doulttshewantsto seeyou" Fiwrrd sdidblutdy'
"Probablynot,"Angelicaagreed B l.rt5
abouttimeyou realizedthekind ofpersonshels

A PromiseOf Romance

157

only aftemoor!" Edwardsaidtircdly. "Can


I'm morc awake?"
pathetic."Argelica smiled at Edward
, l'd like to talk to your fiancCe."
lica shovedber wav Dasthim and went
're a little pushy,cousin,"he commented.
i musthaveheardAnglica makinga
He appearedin the hall, flawlessly dressed
''[Jh. did vou want to seeme?"
oameto exposeyou for what you really
ica pulled a photographfiom her pune.
in thisto me.l wonder?"TheDichf
SatsutiwasdatedMarch27nandshowed
ine a hotel with Yohei.
's nottheoDlypicture['ve got,either"
rbeotherphotoat Edward.leningber
a goodlook.tt wasa pictureofSahuki and
by the Thames.
felt the blood draininefrom his face.

knows' hat I really am?" Satsukiri.ent


had Fobably followed them
had eatenwitb Edward.It had beenhardto
to Yohei that nisht. and so Salsuli had
stayingwith him at his hotel.The camera
it all.
frrst photoshowedthemon the moming
wentto theairport.Satsukihaddressed

158

KyokoAkitsu

like a womanso asto go shaightto his mectingwith


Edwardtbat afiemoon.
..These
arcextremelyrecentpictures,..
Angelica
saidnastily."I'm sureyou havesomeideaof lvhentbey
were taken."
Satsukicouldn't sayanything.
Atrgelicaexploded."How dareyou lry to nrany
Edwardwhenyou havea lover?"
Saisuki'seyeswidenedinvoluntaril)at
Angelica'swords."What?"
yoLldon'1
"Are you goingto keeppretending
know what I'm talking aboutwhen I haveall this
proofl" thewomanshriekcd."You reallyarea gold
digger"
"Shestilldoesnr knowI'm a man!'
"You're\rmng.Thatmanisjust a friendof
rnineftom highschool,"Satsukisaid,holdirrgback
laugbter.
"You saythat evenihoughI haveirretutable
proof that you stayedthe night togelherin a holcll Angelica smiled mockingly.
Umble to containhimselfanyloDgcr.salsuki
burstinto laughter"Evenifwe'd sleptin thesamebed
to8ther,ir wouldn'tbewhal you thinl il is. He s gry'.
to Yohei
"I'n sorry,Yohei."Sdsukiapologized
birn?
esk
in his heart,thencontinued.
"Why don't you
I cangiveyou his phonnumberOfcourse.Edward
alreadyknows aboutthis."
"Whatanobviouslie,"Angelicascoflld'
Edward,who hadbeenstandingassilentasa
slatue.spokeat lasl."She'stellingthetrulh.( otrsin'

A PromiseOfRomance

159

give this up? You mustknow that I met


I imagineyou're hiding lhe pictues oftbe
catilg togcther.I'm not sucha fool that I'd
eat wilh my romanticrival."
at last.
ica seemedto be left soeechless
at them eachin tum, narow eyebrows
you won't be cancelingthe engagement
sheshouted.
conect." Edwardnoddedcharitably.
lica tumedon her heel and stormedou!
ihedoorbehirdher.SaEukiwaiteduntilthc
footsteps
badgrowndistanl.thet
fA.ogelica's
breath.
thousht she'd found out that I'm a man."He
|od glancedat Edward.
's expressionwascomplex.
didn't know you two flt that way about
" he mutteredpointedly ashe lookedaway
' Satsuki'seyesgrcw wide with
guessI was mistakenwhen I thoughttbat
first time," Edwardsaid.
i felt thebloodrisineto his head.He
beforehe realizedwhat he wasdohe.
're a monster!"he screamed,abandonitrg
who was still in a daze,to run to his room.
threw himself on his bed.His tears
and flowed uncontrollably.He had
realizedthe reasonfor his tears,but he

r60

KyokoAhts

didn't wantto admitit.


He loved Edward.

Finally,the dayofthe engagement


plrl\ irnd
weddingarived.
They'darrivedat the estatein Dor\errlhc
daybefore,but Satsukicouldn'lsleepa $ink rf tltr
canopied
king-sizebed.Eversincetheda) Angelica
hadvisitedthem,his relationship
with Ed$atuhld
hit anall-timelow. Up until then.Satsukihadbccn
ignoringEdwardone-sidedly,
but now Ldu ard$as
clearlyrefusingto spakto him, too.Refusingt{)clen
look at him.
EvenNevillesemed
to havenoticcdt r! nast-""
stateoftheir relationship.
but hedidn l drrc Inlerltrc.
No doubtbecause
he knewthatafterthc$edding.the
two ofthem wouldhaveno firrthercontact!rrlhc,rch
other
Thepartywasto lakeplaccin lh. brr lls
luxurycouldrival anyhotlin London.ADdlh.Lnklirll]'
Angelicawasnot in attendance.
"It's alrnost!ime,May."NevillciDtenu cd
Satsuki,who wasmakingtheroundsgrcelinglhd
guests,andthetwo climbedthestairstogelhcfttJa
smallparlor
''l neverthoughtthedaywouldconr.. hc53id
astheywalkd.His eyesnarrowedard lhc c,Jnrers
ofhis mouthtwistedintoa bittersmile.lt $esa \crl.
unpleasant
look.
Saln*rdkldhinr
"lsthercsonredlingbotheringyoul

a-\

.I

t62

KyokoAkitsu

"l wasjustthinkingabouthow nruch[dward


haiesthearistocratic
life, andnow hc'sgornglo secure
not only his position,but his foituneas\lclt. Nelille
stoppedspakingsuddenly,thenshruSged.Youhadto
hearrhis eventually."
"I suppose
it isn't a goodthing,"Sarsuki
said
UnderSatsuki'searnestgaze,Nevillebcgan
again,"'Maybenot,But whenI first mel hinr.rheguv
wasa picture-pedect
honorstudent.
Walchrng
hinrfrom
the sidelines,
h lookedlike theperlectson.iirllowing
thepathhisparcntshadlaid out for him willrour
questioD.
But he hadsomewarpedideas.He fell
people
ga\( l,rr'.
humiLated
by theprivileges
"Humiliated?"Satsukiechoed.
Nevillenodded."That'sright.llc hasa really
irnrnature
senseofright andwrong.So hetncdlo
figureout how hewantedto live for himsolt.despite
his privilege.That'swhereit started.whenhisprren$
died.A title andmassivefortunefell inlo his lapagrinsl
L,lrrrdflialc
hiswishes.
Although
there's
thecondilior)
attached
to thefortune.But he'ssofferedhis slrarcof
blows."
"You'resayinghis hugefortuneis e burden?'
Satsuldasked.
Again,Nevillenodded."Yes.I anr.
Ever)4hing's
bengivnto him sincehes'asa child
He'sneverhadto work for an)'thing.wouldyoucar',
larnill-liven
thathappiness?
t'm ftom a working-class
thougtri wentthroughcollege.I cair'tchangcmybr(t
l
Bul whenI merEdward,hekneu thatL1x. hapf) -.
hada lonofrhingsI wanred
rodo. fhal\ $h.rlil meaD'

A PromiseOf Romance

163

Ald hedoesn'tbavethat."
look on the
ille smiledal theconfused
face.

ille.areyou...?"Satsutibegan.
't sayanotherword.l t'll makeme feel
Nevillesaid,smiling.

i removedthe thin salmonDink dress


wearingand changedinto the pure white
was setout for him. The four bauticianswho
waiting touchedup his makeup,undid his
put it up againin a difrereDtstyle.
look morebautifulthanwe expected!"
said,thrilled.
otherwomenspokewithout the slightest
beautifulyourblackhaiI andeyesare!"
fel like lessofa womannext to vou."
i smiledwryly."lfyou sayso.but I'm a
a horriblethingto say!"theyexclaimed.
a look at youlself."

i took a cautiouslook at himself in


mirror His backaid chestwere more
he'dthoughttheywouldbe.but he'd
paddingdownwell andlhe linesofhis bod],
ifirl. A diamond-studdd
chokercircledhis
ing gloriously.He wore the blue diamond
left ring finger
wasakn(rk at thedoorad Edwardcamein.

164

Kyoka Akitsl.t

"Satsuki,areyou almost-" Edwardfillsilcnl


as soonas he saw his 'bride.'
"Do I look all right?"SatsukiaskedEdward
nervously.
"Yes.You'rebeautiful,"Edwardchokeo.
Thewomennodded."Ofcoursesheis
all. thebestin Londonhaveput hertogethcrl' ^tler
"Maybe the bestin Englandl "
hut
Thewomenlaughedamongstlhenlscl\es.
Edwardcouldn'ttakehis eyesoffSatsuki.

Theceremony
tookplacein thegarden
Springhadcomeearlythisyear Theetocus
andthctrces
andnarcissus
werebloomingeverywhere.
had
bgaLrl)
weredyedin freshgreens.
An unimaginablc
garden.
sprungup fromthewinterfacofthe
lrhcnlhe
Theguestshadbeenquitesurprised
indoor engagemeitparty suddenlybeca'reaDoLrkloor
with thc
wedding,but everyonelookedsatisfied
ceremonyin the beautifulSarden.
Satsuki'sheartwasslowlysinkingin rhelr'e
Theguill he tell xI
ofall thesepeople'shappinss.
$as
deceivingall thepeoplewho hadcometo cclebrirtc
combinedwith his miseryat having1oleavcLd$rrd
logcthcr
in themiddleof theirfight.Thetwo entotions
completely
devastated
him.
At last.theceremony
wasover.andthi'l\\rl
joinedhandsandretumedto thehouse.Thc grosts.wenl
home,but thenew 'couple'hadto continuedeceiri'rg
thesrvants,
who still suspected
nothing.

A PromiseOfRomance

165

congraruladons,
MasterEdward."
butler saidwith teaasin his
expressionless
sule you'll take wonderfulcareof him,
Ma'am?"
Satsukifelta washofconffictitrgemotionsat
in his title. He couldn'tbearto seethiskind

thelasttimetomorrow.
't saysuchtactlssthings,old man,"
gently chiding the butler
"Quite right, sir I've preparedthe bedtoom
usedto use.Havea goodnight."The
his head.andall the otherseryantsbowed
EdwardandSalsukijoinedhandsand.smrling
; went into the room togethr

And as soonas they enteredthe room, they


eachother's handsLighi snackshad beeDpreparedfor them,
champagne,fruit, and sandwiches.
Sasukiquicklyrealizedhowbungryhe was.
too nervousto eatduringtheparty.
'1'm kind ofbungry.Do you mindifl eat?"He
at the fbod.
"Go ahad,"Edwardsaid."They madeit for !s
all. It would makethemhappyifyou ate it."
"ltadakinav." satsukisardbeforebeginning
silence.
Edwardchuckledat the sight of him.

166

KyokoAkitsu

"Wlat?" Satsukiaskedsuspiciolrsly.
"You reallyarehappieslwhen)ou r( (.,rr'rf.
wasthe reply.
Satsulilookedan oyed,but didn l stopcating
"Tornor-rol,
"Oh yes,"Edwardcontinued.
we'll go to Heathrowairpo4 andsplit up ihcre.l 11
writeyourcheckout now."He tooka checkbook
from a dmwerin his desk.Apparently,
hc'd mo\('d
all theessential
thingsto thisroomearlier. \inr did
a magdficentjob."He wroteout theamounron rhc
checkandhandedit to Satsuki."Sincewe \rraftcd rl
up earlierthanexpected,Iaddedanextra2.()00founds.
lfit's not enough,sayso now."
Satsukilookedat thecheck"Whatwill you do afterwe get k) lhc .rrry.rnl'
heasked.
"l'm thinkingofgoing to Japan.' Ed$ fd
admitled."l'd like to seethecountrywhercyoug('w
up."
"Goodidea.Thecherrytresarein bloon righl
now'so it's beautifulenoughto rival youre rdcr " A
tearfell suddenlyfiom Satsuki'seye.
"Satsuki..."Edwardcameto Satsukis sidc
andcuppedhis facein his hands."You'vcexperieced
someborible thingsbecause
ofme. How car I
apologize?"
Satsukishookhis head,thencalDl) tdc lhc
checkup.
elcs
"Whatareyou doing?"Edwardshoul'_d
wide.
"l don'tneedall thismoney.I canI accellth's

A PromiseOfRomance

r67

v I wasdefinitelv in this for the monev


but it wasn'i just that." Satsukilooked Edward
in the eye."I did it becauseI love you. I wanted
"Satsuki,stop," Edwardpleaded."l won't be
.conholmyself"
hrs
"I don't care."And Satsukigentlyprssd
his
liDsto Edward's.At last-he'dmastered
to Edwardsiocetheirfirst
hadbeenattracted
his feelings,
He hadtriednot to acknowledge
wouldn'tbe denied.
rerumedthekiss.It \aas
"Satsuki..."Edraard
'My makeupis running," Satsukisald to cover
ent,pullingawayftom Edward."['m
takea shower..."
Edwardsmiled afrectionatelyas he released

Afler his shower,Satsukiwrappeda bathrobe


nakedbody.Thinking aboutwhat was aboutto
his heartflutteredlike a sparrow His face was
but it took all the couragehe could musterto

iDtotheroomwhereEdwardwaswaitins.
Edward,sittingon thebed,smiledat him and
out for his hand.Nervousness
andfearmelted
an instantat theman'seentlesmile.
T.embling,Satsukirestedhis bodyagainst
's chest.A rain of sentlekissesbrushedSatsuki's
whisDeredmoan escaDed
him- "Mm..."

r68
Edwardmumluredbetweenki\\cs. .\irt\uki.
oPenyour mouth-"
cuessinghis inrention.
Sarsukis rhcrl tlrshed
But he panedhis lips slightly.allowinglidsr.t Insrd(,
anyway.
Edward'stonguedanedin inrlneduuh_lnd
cxpturedSatsukis own. Theirlips presscdhci\ rl\
together.changinganglesagain aDdaga l r\ rr] (jt'
noisturcran do$n Satsuki's
chin andterrs\lrin! uf
behindhis closedeyelids.
''Th-rhat's
eno gb..." he panlcdour.
All the st.enlth fled Satsukis bodt rLrxi.rllc
kisseslhatseizedeve|lhis sighs.He ran hLsh.rf11.
ovcr Edwards back.pressingintothe skrnN rl r tr rirl
strengthhc had.
''Salsuki... tdu ard iaLlcd. ut . I'i
Satsukis eyesflutteredoperr.IJe \r\\ h(l\rrld
lhc lxn
sillingin liont ofhim. gazingal hiln adLrrin!.1\
tracc of his ncn'ousnessdisappeared.
Edwardlighlly brushedSatsukis lrts r' n
thengentlylaid him on the bed.Satsukiclo\r'dhrsrlcs
and acccpledEdward s weight on t('p ofhilrr.
Edward ran his handsover c!en_ rrch ol'
SalsDki'sbody.
Satsukifell healslowlyrisingin his sLrrrIle
brt his I'p and chokedofi a cry.
:'satsuki.let nreheu,you. Ecl$rfd\\hr'l)er'd
his lips nextto Satsukis car.He nibbledSrtstrl \
carlobeSatsukis headrolledlin1plyto onc srdc
Edward lauShe{isoftl}, al the ,notron l Irs

170

KyokoAkits

lipsslid slowlydownSat$rki'sneckandcaressea
rhe
And there.he laidlhemarkof
hollowofthe collarbone.
his possession.
As his chestwasbeingcafessed
by tonqueand
involuntary
cry.
His
hand,Satsukilet out an
bodyhad
grownsensitiveandhe respoflded
immcdirtelvIle
anrs.
tridto pushEdwardawaywith powerless
andtrailed
Edwardeasilystoppedhis resistaDce
his lips furtherdownSatsuli'sbody.
wasfilled with hcatand
Satsuki'smanhood
rearedupundrEdward'stouch.Edward\rrapfcd
bothhis handsaroundit andSatsukis enlircbodv
shuddered.
"Ohl" Smilingdeviouslyat Salsukis lcsponsc.
Edwardtook Satsukiinto his mouth."Nol '

A blindingpleasuetorturedSatsukl
Heatcoursedthroughhis entirebody.A blushof
hrse!'s
tingedhis skin.He squeezed
embarrassment
shutandtdedto let thefeelingwashpaslhinr.butth'
soft,wet warmthofEdward'smouthheldhin $ith a
o!er hitn
yieldingfirrnness
thatsentwavesofsensalion
againand again.
' N o...le tm eg o ...E d..."
But Edwardignoredhis pleasTears$'ellcdtn'
mbidden,in Satsuki'seyesmd courseddownhische'ks
his
Edwatd'stongueslowlylickedhrnr.lrrcing
shape_ Edwardgavea light kissto thetip.
againhis
Satsukimewled
"t"tm...ngg..."
His bodylvasruledo'ly
senses
seizedby thecarcsses.

A PromiseOf Romalc

t71

he felt. He tried againto pushEdwad


but the handhe pressedonto Edward's
so weakhe could only graba handful of
..no..." He lookedat Edward,eyeswet
Shengthcameinto his frngers,tangledin
hair. He was close.
Edwardgazedup at him, watching,and sucked
"Mm!" Saaukifinallycriedout.
all ofSatsui(i'sexcitemen'
Edwardaccepted
Satsuki's breathcamequickly, his chestrisiDg
He hadnever
His tearsstill hadn'tstoDDedDleasulein his entire life. He sankinto the
. Wamth smoldercd
still insidehim.
Hearinghis name.Satsukiopenedhis eyes,
with the tears.He could barelv focus.bul
out the imageof Edwardwalching him witb
Edwardlaida handon Satsuki's
chekand
it. His lipsdrcwcloseto Satsuki's
kissedawaythe tea$ there.His lendemess
Satsuki.
*Satsuki,let go," hemurmured.
Satsuki,captivated
by thekisses,tensedal
pecking
"It's all right,"Edwardsaidsoothingly,
kisses.
Slowly, the tensionleft Satsuki'sbody.
DroppiDgkisseslike min on his face,Edward
a fingerinsideSatsuki-

112

Kloko AkjIsu

"Ah!" Satsukiscreamed.
Memoiesandsensations
tiom Lhelirstlime
reawakened
insidehim, andSatsukis limbscolr\ulsed
He twistedhis body and fried to pull a\\ ay.
him. He slo\rlj addcd
Edwardgentlystopped
allowingSatsukito adlLrst
onefinger,thenanother,
cach
time,to acceptmoreinsidehis body.
His bodytremblingslighlly,Salsukrcndufed
the feeling.Tearsbeganto comebackto hisc!cs.
EdwardkissedSatsuki'seyeldsto feassurc
r spot
him. "This wasthespot,right?"He pressed
insideSatsuki\rilh
hrsfingers theprn.trte.
satsukiknewit now;he hadlookcdit upafter
thefirsttime.
"No!" Satsuki'sbackarchedashc shoulcdA
pleasuegreaterthanevertookcontrolol his bod\ ll
hadonly beenonetime,but Edwardhadrenr.'nbered
's bodyperfectly."No. ..stop..." hegasped
Satsuki
He waslosinghidsell He feareddreplctLsLltt
He couldn'tholdon to his reason.
But Edwardignoredhis criesandpatiell)
attacked
thespotinsidehim.
Momentby moment,Satsuki'smanhoodexiaustedandlimp,swelledwith heatagain
to supporlhis$dring
Satsukisoughtsomething
strenglhandwrapp; hisarmstiihttyuiounal.a"ardt
body.
\alsrrk '1r'u!h
Decidinglhathe had loosened

cd
inside.Edwardc;tully removedhis nngers.A tinlescaped
Satsuli'slipsat thefeeling.
"Satsuki..."

A PromiseOfRomance
Satsukitumedhis eyestowardthe voice.
's facewascoming closer.Edwardpresseda
ontohis lips.Edward'srooguechasedand
's own. [t waschildish. but Satsukitried

His screa$disaDoeared
insideEdwfid's
A felilg of heavinesscompletelyuDlikethe
its way inside Satsuki.Tearsflowed from
senseof oressureand the oain. His mouth
ied,hecouldn'tscape
thesensation
by
Theuncontrollable
heatonly bnilt up inside
dughis nailsinto thebackthatsupported
him.
hadbroughthim thispain,only hecould
lt.

Satsukisqueezed
his eyestightlyshut.
EvenafterEdwardhadburiedhimselfentirely
Satsuki,theydidn't movefor a while.
At lasl,Edwardslowlyreleased
Satsuki'slips.
"Mmph..." Satsukigulped.
His facewas
with Dain-But evenso.hedidn't oushEdward
Edwardsaidhis nametenderly,"Satsuki,
" He kissedawaythetearsrunningdown
's face.pressing
his Iipsagainandagarnto
"Let
go."
's eyes.
Satsukinodded.Edwardslowlybegarto move.
"Ow...ah!" Satsuki'svoicewassoakedwith
gentlytouchedSatsuki'smember,now
andgrippedil lensely.Sarsukr's
bodyleaptat the

1t4

KyokoAktsu

A PromiseOfRomance

renewedstimulation,
dissolvinghis conscioLrsrcs5.
Edwarddrscovered
Satsuki'sweakspols\ rth
precision.Stimulatinghim front and backal lhc sanre
elsebeginningto colol
time,heheardsomething
Satsuii'svoice.
SatsukiwashalfuDconscious
astheflcrsulc
rippledthroughhis body.A sultrynoisccscaped
hrs
partlyopenlips."Ah, ab...N,?r..."
His backarched.Probeddeepinsidearrdirrhst
surpassing
his limit. he released
himsell
Edwaidalsounleashed
his emotionsrnlo
Satsuki.
Satsuli'seyesshotopen.He slorl) bcgnn
to closethemagain,andhe released
his holdon
consciousness.

"l'm glod I told hin how I feel beforewe

Thenextmoming,SatsukiwasawakenedI
dawnby theloudchorusofbirds.
Edwardlay still besidehim, breathing
peacefullyin his sleep,stillcompletelynakedfl. nmsr
havebeenusedto thebirds,sincehe'd livcd hcfcso
muchlonger.
Satsuki'sbodywasstill heavywilh th.'\$cer
fatigueofthe nightbeforeandhis beart$'aslrghl
ll wasonly beginningto grow lighl oLrtside
"Ile still havehalf a day togerltet:'
Accordingto theconhacttheyhadagfeedlLl
with Neville,heandEdwardwouldpartat Hcilhro$
('f
airport andthen be completestrange;sfor the resl
theirlives.

175

Satsukiburowed into the bed again,pressing


agairNtEdward's,and closedhis eyes.

At fi.st, Edwardthoughthe was still dreaming.


woke up, Satsukiwas asleepin his a.tms.
he loved was sleepingin his arms.[t wasa
he'd had often.
H gently touchedSatsuki'scheek.His fingers
warmthoflivi[g skin.
"Mm...mm?"Satsukirolledover.
Thegentlespringsunlighlplayedo\er the
Edwardhad feverishlytraceddown Satsuki's
his collarbone
aodon his chest.
"lt wasD'la dream,'hdwardmurmured,
A
spilled fiom his face,unbidden.
Satsukiwas an amazingboy. Edwardhad beeit
by him ever sincetheir fi$t metingat the
the bad pafi of London.He had beencaptivated,
by emotionshe was unfamiliar with.
his emotionshadgrownmorepoweffirl.he
that honible violation. But Satsukihad
him. More thanthat, he had offeredhimselfto
again.
by thefeelingofbeing
Edwardwasenveloped
which he hadneverknown bfore.It was the
he hadclreamed
ofever sincehischildhood.

\ 76

KyokoAkitsu

WhenSatsukiwokeup again.his cyesnrel


who wasgazingat his face.
Edlvard's,
"You shouldha\e wokenmeup.r,\,.
werealready
awake-'Salsuki
said.tumrnfil
\eithsuddenshyness.
"l couldn'tstoplookingat you. Ed\rafd
'
admitted."You lookedso happyasleep.
said.-Bur
"l actuallywokeup earlier,"Satsukr
you werecompletelyoblivious,despiteall lh.'noiredrc
birdsweremaking."
AllEdward coulddo waslaugh.
\\ rll
"But if we don'l getup soon.someoDc
come."Satsukiadded.
of lhe
"No onewoulddo something
so tactlc,is
momingafterourwedding."Edwardrolledon ((1fol
on lrirrr
Satsukr
andunleashed
a frurryofLrssec
''l m hungr).anytay."Satsuki
rar,l.
He blushedup to his eyebrowsal$hrl Edi!rrd
whispered
in his ear "You'll haveplentytLreatv)('rr
enough.Butight now I havea betteridca.'
After lheyhadhada privatbrunchin thr
sunroom,
thetwo loadedtheirbagsin thecarandscl
off for Heathrowairport.
After leavingtheestate,Satsukisaidrl osr
nomlng.
Edwarddidn\ thint muchofit. attribulingit to
fatiguefiom lastnightandthismorning.His o$1rherd
wasfull ofhis own happiness.
As thyapproa.h'dlhe
airport,he stolea look at Salsuki,sittingbcsidehinrrn

A PromiseOfRomance

117

seat,and sawthat Satsuki'seyeswere


The man lookedas if he was alroutto cry.
"Satsuki?"Edwardcriedin concem."Whal's
"Did I do somethingwmrg?" Even aiter all
Edwarddidn't uDdersland
Satsuki'sfeelins:.
"We're really going to leaveeachother after
i said,a tear falling fiom his eye.
"What?" At lirst Edwarddidn't understand
i meantat all. He stareduncomprehending
i, terrified.He thoughthe'd p.ovenhis lovefor
manlastnighlandthismoming.He couldnt
why Satsuliwastalkingaboutparting.He
rn a panrc.
Then he suddenlvrememberedthe Dhotos
hadshownthem.TheonesshowinsSatsuki
his liiend.
"Satsuki,canyou reallynotgive up your
Yohei?"Withoutrealizineit. his voicebecame
"Why wouldyou bringYoheiup at a time like
SarsukrIookedat Ed',\ard.blinkingthetearr
eyes.
"Well,if nothim, thenwhy do you thinkw
part?"Edwardaskd."AIl I couldthinkofwas
couldn'tforgetyourold boyfriend."
"Boyfriend?"Satsukiraisedbis eyebrows.
you suspected
m andYohei?"
He becameclearly angry.
in the
"No. I mean..."Edwardgrewincoherent
Satsuki'sfury "l couldnt thinkofanlthing else

178

KyokoAkiuu

thatwouldbeupsettingyou, Satsuki."
"But you sig[edthecontsact,
too,didn l ]ou.t.,
Sabukishouted.
"Ifwe breakthecontract.you pa\ a
pnalty.andifnot, we leaveeachotheral lhe.rrp.,n
atrdneverseeeachotler again!"
"Isn't it obviousthatthecontmctis overl '
Edwardsaid.
Another tear fell fiom Satsuki'seyes. \iru
neversaidanythilgaboutit, so I just assunled..
.'
"I'm sorry,"Edwardapologized.I nc\crsay
themostimportantthings."
Satsulishookhis head."It's okay.i gel rL
'No,listen to me,Satsuli.lt's inportant'
Edward'svoiceconveyed
his resolve.
Satsukiwipd awayhis tearsand lookedlrt
him. "Wlat?"
"I'm giviogup my fortune,"Edward
amounced.
Satsuki'seyeswidenedEdwardcontiDue4"I'm surethal'll shLrtrn).'
annoyingrelativesup.And in exchange,
I l|
you
Will
staywith meevenifI havenothrn SatsLrkil
'l cant,rug'n" 1o,'
Satsulllaughed.
money."
He hadthesmileofan angel,andnocr ccased
to charmEdward.
"well. will you?"Edwardprompted.
Satsukislowlynodded.
Edwardbeamed.
TheycontinuedoDtLrthc
airport,andto a lifetimespenttogether

Afterword

Hello, I'm the author,Kyoko Akitsu.


Time hasflown by, ard now at last, I've
a ner,lbook.setio Englandlhistimearound.
somedepressingmemoriesof that place.
As soonas I landediD Londonfot the first
I ranout.mapin band.to seea musical.I leh
)atertotally worked up, and it was only a little
latertbatI noticedmy mapwasmissing...atrd
iften the addressofmv hotel oDthe maDso I
il...andso I didl't. Forrhe
t havelo remember
my life. l'll neverforgetrhererrorI felt right
when I thousht I would haveto wanderaround
without knowins whereI wa! or whereI was
io go. One bright spotwas that I rememberedtbe
ofthe hotel and that ii was insideLondon.Thank
for t ondontaxicabslOne rook me straigbt
hotelwhenall I couldtell him wasthe name.I
y wouldn'thavegotienout ofthat in onepiece
other country.Englandtruly is a couDtryof
Anyway, I startedout planningto write a
lo my lastbook.But aflera meedngwith m,
The
we pro!edthatwe're borhromantics.

idca grew and grcw. and before I kne-ii rt. I \\ L,LfrJLrD


writingthjs storyinstead.lt's a wholc nr\ r\t,erLurcc
$riting tbr pleasure.ln addition to thL-hetp lhit ()
gale Drelbr writing aboul beauliful p(r|lc. \' lir\ u In.
sonreexcellentadviccin writingsex\ sccnc\.I r rr\
t{rihng a story about six beauliful bovs at thc lllll(
Shesjust so goodat describing
beaulitirlf.rt, . 1,Jr
irt
lcast.nuch betlerthanme) And Y is a porrrrhL,rrre
L|
yaoi publishing.
with a Inillionbookssr)ld(irptl.rfnl\
shc s too i)rtinridatedby the nuntbcrslo keeJrro It|r!
her prolits).I wondef*,hatthlJnexl book\ rll lr. lrlc
To makesurcI deli\er thequalityyou c\!!cl. I hc
lakiDga vacation...
ibr training!(Or mi\ hc l ll tf.l
makemy cetawa!...)
Finallv.a big thankyou lo Ms. liioko \l\rgr
lbr hcr illustrationsl
I reallvIuckedoull
And ru dll rh( r(adcrs.I hupcrh.| | i.
brighteDs
up your day.evenjusta littlebit.
Hopefullv.wc ll seeeachothc|arirn *r,tr
llr0l
Febr,|LrLr\

tt
ei

{ llowl

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