Chapter 23

The next couple of days Tesa spirits still broken from Edmund's visittrudges to work grudgingly. She try's to hide her pain by appearing happy but the light that use to dance in her eyes are gone. Her soul is bitter. She found out that Edmund had left the day he had visited her. It is midweek when Toshiro pays her a visit at her flat to say his good bye. Leslie opens the door and shows Toshiro in.

Tesa seeing Toshiro goes over and hugs him and smiles at him sadly.

Toshiro notices right away on her face that something is wrong. He had seen her with the same look on her face when she left Japan. He frowns with concern.

"Tesa, I had sinking feeling that Edmund's quick departure is somehow connected to you but I didn't want to pry. You are like a sister to me. So, please tell me what is going on? I will not be able to leave here not knowing why your so sad."

Tesa starts to cry and Toshiro draws her into a hug and kisses the top of her hair.

"Oh my God, it is worse than I thought. What happened between you and Edmund?"

Tesa wipes her tears and sits down. Leslie tries to busy herself in the kitchen. It has been a rough couple of days for her since Tesa went on bouts of crying fits every time a particular song would come on. All week she had to put up with Tesa watching Grease on DVD every night.

Tesa tells Toshiro everything that had happened from the dinner she had with Edmund to the day Edmund left. Toshiro is shock at hearing how stupid his brother had acted towards Tesa.

"Tesa, you have my very deepest apologies for the action of my brother Edmund. There is no excuse for him to lash out at you that way. I am both ashamed and mortified at the treatment that you have endured by the Tanaka family. When I get back to Japan, I will make sure that Edmund will get a taste of my anger."

"Toshiro…..Please…..I just want it to end already. No retaliation." Tesa begs

Toshiro shook his head "He doesn't deserve you or you're understanding. I just hope that this experience with Edmund has not tarnish your belief that there is good in everyone. There is a guy out there for you and you will see the difference in how you should be treated."

Tesa smiles and nods but deep down she knew she would never trust another man again. Toshiro stays a little bit longer and then leaves promising Tesa that his next visit he will bring his family. Leslie finally comes out of the kitchen.

"It's too bad he is married. Those Tanaka brothers are very handsome. Maybe there is a third child much younger than Edmund huh."

Tesa frowns at Leslie.

"Ok Tesa, tomorrow will be a new day for you. You are no longer going to sulk. Let us go into your closet and see what outfit you can wear. You know what, you can try being a little friendlier to Andrew."

Tesa rolls her eyes and follows Leslie into her room. Leslie spies the bag that Edmund had given Tesa.

"What are you going to do with these? You mine as well use them. At least this Gucci purse and the matching wallet."

"I have a purse." Tesa tells Leslie

Leslie sighs aloud "Tesa, excuse my French but you have a fucking Hello Kitty coin purse which you stick everything in."

Tesa ignores her friend Leslie, lies on her bed, and turns on her favorite dvd.

Toshiro arrives in Japan the next morning. As tired as he was, he decides to go into the office first. Toshiro passes the secretary and barges into Edmund's office. Edmund stands up and smiles at his brother. Toshiro taking Edmund by surprise throws his hardest punch, which lands on Edmund's mouth knocking Edmund down. Edmund looks at his brother in confusions. He dabs at his lips and sees some blood.

"What the fuck!!!" Edmund stands up to retaliate but Sen stops Edmund.

"Edmund he is your older brother, let him explain."

Edmund looks at Toshiro menacingly. "It better be good."

Toshiro calms down and asks Sen to leave them. Sen looks at Toshiro "Your brother is a black belt and street fights every chance he gets."

Toshiro looks at Sen "It's okay."

Edmund sits back down and waits for Toshiro to explain. He knows Toshiro's temperament and never gets violent unless he is provoked.

"Before I left England, I happen to visit Tesa."

Edmund's lip went into a thin line.

"Tesa told me what happened between you two." Edmund is about to protest but Toshiro held his hand for him to stop. "Oh don't worry dear brother, she tells me your blameless on all this. She accepts the treatment that you had given her was very deserving since she had lied to you."

Edmund looks at his brother inquiringly.

"You know what so sad about all this. That girl has only slept with one man and that is you. How can she be a whore? Another thing, she left Japan because our dear father had threatened her that he will disown you and you will be destitute. Tesa being the kind hearted and devoted only to you, left Japan with a broken heart so you do not have to be poor. I am so fucking glad you left her the way you did. Maybe this experience will finally make her realize that her love for you is a big waste of time. Oh another important information that I must share with you. She accepted the money from father on her way to the airport after already breaking up with you. She refused it at first but Dad had insisted. Tesa being gracious accepted it because she did not want to dishonor our dear father. I saw her that day; the sadness was so apparent. I begged her to tell me what happened but she refused to even tell me then about what father had done."

Edmund looks down ashamed at himself. Every word hitting him like a ton of bricks. He knew Toshiro was telling the truth. Tesa was only eighteen and she could have never done the things he had accused her of. She tried to tell him but he did not listen because he was angry. He let his jealousy take over as before when he saw her with Kane. All this time, she was only a friend to Kane and Andrew. He refused to believe it because he felt like he did not deserve her. He was the one that always doubted that a girl like Tesa could not possibly fall in love with an ass like him.

Toshiro walks away and shuts the door leaving Edmund to contemplate on his lecture.

…………….

It is Friday. James summons Tesa into his office. Tesa sighs. She is dreading that James probably have noticed her work has been suffering. She walks in nervously in his office. James smiles and tells Tesa to shut the door and to have a seat.

"Tesa, darling. Let me tell you. You are such a great worker and I want to show you my appreciation. I want to take you and Leslie skiing for the weekend. All expense on me of course."

Tesa is surprise. "Um, well I not really going to be good company."

James shakes his head "Nonsense, maybe this will lift your spirit up a little. I noticed that you have been a little on the too quiet side. Of course, anyone next to Leslie is always quiet since she is such a talkative social butterfly. Andrew will be coming too."

Tesa looks at James nervously. She nods and accepts. She needed a change of scenery. Leslie screams with excitement as Tesa tells her the news. Leslie drags Tesa to shop for new clothes and some cute skier outfits. They hurry home after work to pack their things. They will leave early morning since it is at least a four hour trip to the French Alps by plane and car. Leslie happily packs both their luggages since she did not trust Tesa to wear the outfits that she has chosen.

The next morning the four heads out for the charming resort village of Chamonix in the French Alps. Tesa is in awe of the dramatic scenery of the mountains as they pull into the resort. The traditional architecture maintains the resorts elegant alpine style. James rented two chalets in the village. The charming chalet is nestled in an exclusive private part of the village.

"James really spent some money this time." Leslie looks around the chalet, which is, furnish with a private Jacuzzi.

"Oh, I can't wait to try this tonight after skiing our butt off." She giggles to Tesa

After settling in, the girls decide to try the slopes. Andrew and James decide to go snowboarding. The ski resort is an expansive network of lifts, trails, and acres of terrain. Happy skiers are everywhere. Tesa and Leslie start to ski for miles. Tesa is breathless by her surroundings of the towering peaks of the mountains and their foothills, which are truly majestic. They went skiing until early evening. Tesa and Leslie meet up with Andrew and James at a local restaurant for dinner. After dinner, James and Andrew hangs around near the chalet.

Tesa is enjoying herself making a snowman. She looks out into the pristine white snow, which seems to stretch to infinity. The secluded setting provides a true alpine setting and it is picture perfect as a postcard. It is a nice star filled night and the snow seems to glow giving plenty of light. Tesa can hear Leslie, James, and Andrew having a snowball fights in the distance. Tesa lies down on the snow and starts to make an angel. She looks up happily at the sky enjoying the moment of peace. She smiles to herself, for the very first time this week she feels a sort of happiness. Tesa sighs and sits up. She notices the odd silence and looks around to see where her friends are. She stands up and starts to call out their names but all she can hear is the echo of her voice. She starts to worry. She hears a stirring of footsteps behind her and she turns around. Her face grew white and she starts to run towards the chalet. She runs faster when she hears the footstep getting closer. Tesa yelps out when she feels a strong hand pull around her midsection.

"Tesa, Stop it. It's me."

Tesa turns around and looks at the face that has been haunting her all week."

Tesa stands frozen wondering is she losing it.

Edmund snaps his finger in front her face. "Tesa, it's really me."

Tesa realizes that she is not dreaming. She looks around and sees that they are alone. Tesa starts to grow frantic and starts to run again. Edmund sighs and goes after Tesa. He catches up with her with two short strides and lifts her off the ground. Tesa struggles to try to free herself.

"Tesa, we are all alone. You cannot run from me. I will let you down if you promise not to run."

Tesa finally nods and she turns to face him "But how? Why?…..are you here"

"I figured if I called you, you would not accept my call. I'm here to apologize."

Tesa looks at him and her emotion starts to come out "What? You think you can mess up my life and then call me names and then apologize." Tesa starts to pound her fists into his chest. "I hate you Edmund, no apologies is ever going to repair the damage done to me." Angry and distraught, she starts to cry.

Edmund lets Tesa take her frustration out on him. When Tesa got tired of hitting him, he pulls her into a hug and let her cry like child."

"Tesa, nothing I can say or do will ever be enough to earn forgiveness. I could not just let you go. I wanted you to know that I know the truth now. Even if it is too late for forgiveness, I at least know I made an effort to pursue your forgiveness."

Tesa looks up at Edmund. How can she trust him after all this? "If all you want is my forgiveness, then it's yours. Have a nice life."

Tesa straightens herself out and starts to walk to her chalet. Edmund follows her, stops in front of her, kneels down, and hugs her. "Tesa, don't leave me. I need you. I want you back in my life." Edmund whispers his pleas to Tesa. Tesa starts feel heart pounding faster. She is taken aback at his action but she reminds herself that her relationship with Edmund was not healthy.

"Edmund, I can't. I cannot go through this again. We were never meant to be." Tesa tells him trying to convince herself at the same time.

Edmund looks up at her sadly. "Then tell me you don't love me."

"What does love got to do with this?" Tesa tries to avoid the subject, she feels herself weakening.

"Just tell me you don't love me and I will go." Edmund stands up and faces her.

"Edmund that's unfair." She whispers to him

Edmund could see her weakening. He kneels back down and takes out the ring he bought her. "I bought this for you the day before you left me. The night you came over was the night that I planned to propose to you. I love you Tesa. I want you to marry me." Edmund's voice is loud and clear. He did not falter once.

Tesa is surprise at the proposal. Her mind is reeling and she did not know what to do. She wants to grab the ring and just say yes.

"This is unfair Edmund, please get up. I cannot just say yes to you. I admit that I am in love with you. But this is overwhelming and I can not think straight."

Edmund stands up. "You love me and I love you. I know we can make it work."

Tesa shakes her head. Her heart is beating hard in her chest. She continues to walk away. Edmund sighs and does not follow her. He starts to head the opposite direction. Tesa goes in her chalet and closes the door. She sits down and starts to think. A second later in dawns on her that she is making a mistake. She loves that man with all her heart. She loves him and all his difficult personalities. Tesa stands up, rushes to the door, and opens it. She is about to dart out when she sees Edmund sitting on the step. She smiles at him.

"How did you know." Tesa sits down next to him

Edmund shrugs his shoulder. "I really didn't know, I was going to wait here all night until you find me frozen to death in the morning."

Tesa cracks a giggle. "How did you know I was here."

"I called James and he planned the whole skiing trip. He is sucker for romance."

Tesa frowns and shakes her head. "You are dramatic. I am truly amaze that Leslie did not clue me in."

"Ha, that big mouth friend of yours didn't have a clue of what is going on."

"Oh and how about Andrew?"

"Well, he knows and graciously gave up his hopes for you since he wants to see you happy."

"Did I tell you that you make the prettiest snow angel." Edmund gently takes Tesa into his arms and slowly kisses her. Tesa sinks in his kiss and cuddles into his warmth. She sits for a moment and enjoys there time together not noticing the cold.

"How about my snowman?" Tesa jokes

Edmund looks over and frowns to himself. "That's a snow man? It looks like a big round egg."

Edmund starts to chuckle.

"That's not funny Edmund. I'm going in, I hope you freeze your you know what off." Tesa runs in the chalet and Edmund sighs and follows.

The End

Time will only tell if Edmund and Tesa will live happily ever after. For now it seems that, they will try to work out their differences.

I want to wish everyone a Happy Holiday. I feel like I have gotten to know my readers through the lively reviews. I really want to especially thank the ones that have followed both my stories. A special thanks to AAOTD, who gave me some good ideas when I started to run out. Last of all, to my boyfriend Mark.....what can I say.....I love you!!!