My name is Fuyuki Yutaka. I come from a family that is slightly different than others. I have a father, and many, many brothers that aren't blood-related. When I was little, I never quite understood why others were so afraid of my father. Just because he had a scary face. As I grew older, I finally understood it. My father is a yakuza.
My family happens to be the most powerful clan among all the yakuza clan - the Fuyuki clan. My father is the kumichou of the clan, and he has been leading the clan for years.
My father always wanted a boy so that he could have an heir to take his place in the future. So when my mother got pregnant, he gave the name Yutaka, a name that couldn't be more masculine. But instead they got, well, me.
I'm not sure whether it's due to the masculinity of my name, or the absence of my mother, I was no different than a boy. I would always go around picking fights with the other kids in school, and I would run all over the place, climbing trees. I was uncontrollable.
But once I got to middle school, I grew my hair out, styled it a little, put on a little makeup even. And guys started to ask me out. But each time when they found out about my family background, they got freaked out and broke up with me.
Once I got into high school, I learned my lesson. I did not tell anyone who I was, and my life was peaceful ever since.
One day, while I was on the way home from school, I ran into a group of smug-looking guys who surrounded me. One of them, who looked like their leader, asked me, "Are you the daughter of the Fuyuki clan's kumichou?"
This was not the first time I have this kind of encounter. As the daughter of the kumichou, you're bound to be targeted by the other clans.
"What if I told you I'm not, and what if I told you I am?" I asked him back.
"Well, if you're not her, I'll let you go. But if you are..." Before he finished his sentence, I could sense someone moving behind me. Immediately I moved away and managed to dodge the grip of the person that was behind me.
"I was hoping you wouldn't see that coming," said the guy. He let out a smirk and said to his men, "Get her."
Under his orders, the guys started to charge towards me. Luckily, I was too fast for them. Ever since I was a little girl, my father taught me how to protect myself in case of any danger. I managed to dodge every attack they threw at me. With just a swift movement, I beat them to a pulp. However, I missed one and he pulled me from behind. It was the leader.
"Not so tough now, huh?" he said behind my ears. I tried to break free but his grip was too strong. Suddenly, I heard a familiar voice.
"I suggest you release her now if you don't want to die," After hearing these words, I heard a gun clicking sound. I felt a sense of fear inside me. The guy that held me captive heard it too. He released me almost immediately. He and his gang scrambled out of the way. The man that rescued me put his gun away.
This man's name is Nagasaki Yasuhito. Or Yasu for short. He has been my father's right-hand man for as long as I can remember. He has watched me grew up over the years, and can be considered as half my babysitter.
"Are you alright?" he asked me as he helped me to my feet.
"I'm fine, but..." I replied, "How is that you're here? Don't you have 'errands' to do?" I knew my father often assigned Yasu to do things for him, unlawful things which Yasu always refer as 'running errands'.
"My errand today is to bring you back home safely," Yasu replied.
"What for?" I asked in puzzlement. Yasu seemed to be caught off guard by my question.
"I can't give you the details," he replied while avoiding my gaze, "You'll find out when we're there."
"Really?" I asked him with an intense stare.
Unaffected by my stare, Yasu said to me, "I'll buy you a box of ichigo daifuku if you keep your mouth shut,"
"Two," I said as I put up two of my fingers, "And a strawberry parfait."
"Fine," Yasu replied unwillingly, "Don't blame me if you get cavities." I turned my head and glared at him. After that I jumped and hung on his back, just like when I was little, only ten times heavier.
"It's no wonder you don't have a girlfriend," I said to him.
"What is to you if I don't have a girlfriend or not." he replied as he struggled to pull me away.
When we returned home, I noticed a pair of shoes that I had never seen before. They were well-polished and had no speck of dust on top of them.
"Is there a guest in our house?" I asked. Yasu didn't reply me. Instead he retained his professional manner and walked in. He stopped in front of our guest room and looked at me, signalling me to come over, to my surprise. I followed his instructions and walked over.
Once I approached him, Yasu knocked on the guest room door and said to the person inside, "Kumichou, Ojousama has returned."
I heard my father answered from inside, "Oh, let her in." After listening to that, Yasu looked at me. I began to feel anxious.
"What is going o-" Before I could finish my sentence, Yasu prompted me not to ask any more questions.
I stared at the door. Holding my breath, I slid the door open, mentally preparing what I was about to face. Once I opened the door, I was immediately met with a pair of emerald green eyes that I have never seen before. He wore a golden ring carved into a shape of a wolf with its mouth holding a ruby. The color of his hair was as bright as the golden sun. He has the look of a young man, but his presence has a kind of maturity that went beyond his years.
"Gabrielli-san, this is my daughter, Yutaka," my father introduced, "Yutaka, this is Andrea Gabrielli, the head of the Gabrielli family. He has come all the way from Italy."
"Your daughter is as beautiful as I've heard," the foreigner replied. His Japanese was perfect. He didn't sound like a foreigner at all.
"Um...thank you, I guess?" I said to the guest, feeling uncertain on how to react in this situation.
"Gabrielli-san here has proposed an alliance with our clan," my father said to me.
"That's great, but...what does that have to do with me?" I asked in puzzlement.
"I've come here, to ask for your hand," the stranger replied me, "In marriage."
My face turned into shock. I couldn't believe my ears. "M-Marriage?" I asked, "You and me?"
"But yes, of course," the person named Gabrielli replied, as if he had no issue with this at all.
"I've only met you for not more than 5 minutes, and you're already asking me to marry you?" I asked Gabrielli.
"Yes, your father has already agreed to this," the blonde replied.
I glared at my father. Then I turned back to our guest and gave him a huge smile. "Could you give us a moment?" I asked him. Not waiting for his reply, I dragged my father out of the room.
Seeing that the odds were not in his favor, Yasu tried to sneak away but I called out to him before he could.
"Yasu, did you know about this?" I asked him furiously. He didn't say a thing, but his looks betrayed him. I exclaimed, "I'm expecting ten dozen boxes of ichigo daifuku, ten whole cheesecake, and twenty boxes of tarte tatin," Then I turned to my father and continued, "And you, what on earth are you thinking?"
"Shh, pipe it down. He might hear you," my father said to me.
"Oh, so now you're worried about your little agreement?" I asked him.
"Look, I know this is a bit sudden, but..."
"You don't say?"
"But it could be a great opportunity for our clan," my father said to me, "Not only that we'll be influential in Japan, we could be powerful all over the world."
"Dad, I'm only 17," I said matter-of-factly.
"So? Your mother and I married when we were 16, and we never even met before our wedding!"
"That's like 20 years ago!" I exclaimed.
"Look, I'm not asking you to marry him right away. You can get married after you finish high school," my father added, "Think of the clan."
I scoffed at his words. "That's all you care about, don't you?" I said to him. Unable to say another word, I stormed off along the hallway.
I hid inside my room until the sky went dark. A knock came to the door. "Who is it?" I asked.
"It's me," replied Yasu from outside.
I took a deep breath. "Come in," I said to him. Yasu pushed the sliding door open. He was carrying boxes of pastries in his hand. He put them in front of me.
"I'll get the tarte tatins tomorrow," he said to me.
"That won't be necessary," I replied, "You can have these."
"What? B-But I..." He stopped when I looked at him. He then changed his tone and continued,"Thank you for your kindness, I guess?"
"No problem," I replied nonchalantly.
Later that night, while I was trying to sleep, my stomach was growling as loud as thunder. I skipped dinner, and it's having its revenge. Listening to its command, I sneaked into the kitchen. As I thought, there was no one there. I opened the refrigerator door and started to rummage for any food I could find. Suddenly, the lights were turned on. I turned my head to look. A woman in her 60s was standing by the kitchen door, crossing her arms across each other. I could only smile sheepishly.
She is Haruko-san. She has been the caretaker of the house even before my father became the Kumichou. She's the closest thing I have to a mother. Without any second thought, Haruko-san pulled up her sleeves and prepared a bowl of ramen for me. Famished, I wolfed the bowl of noodles down within minutes.
"Why did you have to torture yourself like this?" Haruko-san said with a sigh.
With the fury reignited inside me, I said to her, "He cares nothing but the clan,"
"That's not true," said Haruko-san, "He loves you,"
"But not as much as the clan, is that it?" I retorted.
"This clan has been here for generation," said Haruko-san, " I'm sure the Kumichou was just trying to do what's best for the clan, and got over his head..."
"Yeah, he got over his head alright," I interrupted.
"I'm just curious though, is that gentleman really that bad?" asked Haruko-san.
I began to think of my encounter with the foreigner. The piercing gaze of his eyes seemed to be etched in my memory.
"He's not that bad, I guess," I replied with a mumble.
"Why don't you give him a chance then?" I tried to rebuke, but she went on, "I'm not saying that I agree with the Kumichou, but I think you should get to know him. Think of it as getting to know a new friend." After listening to Haruko-san, I began to put myself in deep thoughts.
A couple of weeks later, as I was preparing to leave the school, I heard some of the girls from my class talking to each other. Nothing unusual with that. Except that the content of the conversation was slightly different.
"Who's that by the school gate? Is that a limo?"
Looking at the direction where the girls pointed, I saw a fancy black limousine parked right in front of the school. When I saw who was standing right next to it, my fear was confirmed.
"Yutaka-san, I'm glad I found you here," said Gabrielli with a smile.
"It's a school day, where else would I be?" I rebuked. After saying that, I walked away.
"Wait, Yutaka-san!" he called out to me. I stopped walking and turned to face him.
"Gabrielli-san, I don't think we're that close to call on a first-name basis."
"Well, I couldn't possibly call my fiancée by her surname, could I?"
"I never agreed to this engagement!" I exclaimed. The students from my school started looking at us. I turned my volume down and asked, "What do you want from me?"
"I know we got on the wrong foot when we first met, so I thought we can have dinner together, and maybe we can get to know each other better." I wanted to refuse, but an idea struck my head.
"Sure, why not?" I replied with a shrug.
We came to a really nice restaurant which was famous for its authentic Japanese cooking, and its price. We were seated in a private room where it's secluded from the rest of the crowd. The waitress put one menu in front of each of us respectively.
"Trying to flaunt your wealth?" I thought to myself, "Let's see how long you're gonna hold up."
I showed the waitress the menu and drew a huge circle with my finger. " I would like to have these, and..." I flipped over a few pages. "These..." Another few pages. "This and this, and I would like a tiramisu and a matcha ice-cream, thanks," I handed the menu back to the waitress. She was clearly in shock.
"Are these for the both of you?" she asked, trying to sound as politely as possible.
"Oh no, those are for me only," I replied nonchalantly.
The waitress smiled nervously at my reply. She then turned to Gabrielli. "What would you like, sir?"
"I'll just have a cup of coffee," he replied while handing back the menu.
"Okay, please wait a moment," the waitress replied with a bow.
After she left us alone, I leaned backwards, stretched out my legs and curled one of them so that I could use it as an arm rest. I took extra precaution not to make unnecessary exposure.
"I feel most comfortable sitting like this," I said to Gabrielli, "You don't mind, do you?" I looked at him, hoping to get some sort of reaction. Instead he gave his usual charming smile.
"Of course not," he replied, "There's only the two of us here after all."
"I thought that you would bring me to an Italian restaurant or something."
"I have stayed in Japan for some time and I enjoy the food here," Gabrielli replied, "So, do you have a hobby, Yutaka-san?"
"Well, nothing much," I answered him, "Just fighting with the boys, watching wrestling." I then leaned closer towards him and continued, "It just gets me excited seeing all the blood." I added a giggle, hoping that it would scare him somwhow.
"Really?" he asked me, looking unfazed.
"So, what about you?" I asked him, "What do you like to do?"
"I like to read," he replied.
"Oh, what kind?" I asked him.
"Like Nietzche, Marx, Kiekegaard, Kant...nothing that would interest you," he replied. I just realized the closeness of our faces. I pulled away in a flash.
Soon, the food arrived at our table. I was impressed by my ability to be able to choose the greasiest, fattest, and filling food in the menu. I looked at the food in horror.
Seemingly to have noticed my expression, he asked me, "Are you sure you can finish these? You don't have to force yourself if you can't."
"Are you kidding me? This is like one quarter of what I usually eat," I said with a scoff, "Are you able to afford it though?" I looked at him, hoping to get a glimpse of his reaction.
"Of course," replied Gabrielli with a nonchalant shrug, "You can even order more if you like."
"T-That's good to hear," I stammered. I began to regret what I got myself into.
I started stuffing myself with all the food on the table. However, halfway throughout the meal, I began to feel bloated with the food.
"You know, you shouldn't push yourself," said Gabrielli.
"I'm not...pushing myself," I said in a forceful manner.
"Stop it already," he said in a stern voice, which gave me a shock. His cheerful demeanor suddenly turned serious. "Do you really think that I would marry someone without checking her background?"
"What are you talking about?" I asked him.
"I have checked your lifestyle and all your habits. So what you're doing here, it's not going to work."
"You..." Before I could say another word, something else came out of my mouth, and they came in full throttle.
Yakuza: members of crime syndicate in Japan who follows a code of honor. Also referred as gokudo, or the extreme path, thus makes up the title of the story. (Source: Wikipedia)
Kumichou: a title given to the leader of a yakuza clan.
Ojousama: a term used to refer miss/mistress, also can be used to refer young lady from a higher class family.