“Please excuse me,” Kyoya murmured as he stepped into Kea’s room. He slipped off his shoes while she walked around the corner to the kitchenette. He meandered over to the loveseat that sat under one of Kea’s windows. Once he sat down, he turned to his right slightly, slinging his arm over the back as he looked out the double-paned glass. ‘She has a nice view of the gardens. I wonder if she asked for a room with views.’
“Here you are.”
Kyoya turned his head to see Kea had set down a tray on the coffee table in front of him. On it was a plate piled high with biscotti, two cups on their saucers, and a teapot. He lifted an eyebrow at the scrawl. “This isn’t a standard tea set.”
Kea chuckled softly, smoothing her pantsuit before sitting down. “It was a gift from my grandmother.” She said as she poured the tea. “She gave it to me on my thirteenth birthday.”
Kyoya lifted an eyebrow, nodding in thanks when she handed him a cup. “I thought you said Nonna gave you a bridle for your thirteenth.”
Kea giggled, leaning into the cushioned back of the loveseat. “She did. This was a gift from my maternal grandmother.”
Kyoya felt his cheeks flush. “Oh. I see.” He sipped the tea, hoping to obscure his blush. From the knowing glint in Kea’s eyes, he knew he didn’t. “This is good. What is it?”
"Caramel Almond Amaretti. It's one of my favorites."
“Amaretti? That sounds Italian.”
“Very good, Kyoya.” Kea teased, her lips quirking up in a smirk. “That was a gift from Nonna.”
Kyoya chuckled, nudging her ankle with his toes. “Now the biscotti make sense.”
Kea gasped as he bit into one, munching on the treat. “You found me out!” She exclaimed in mock horror, pressing a hand to her sternum. “I’ve been exposed.”
Kyoya laughed, causing her to join in after a little while. Once their giggles subsided, they lapsed into a comfortable silence, sipping their tea and eating the biscotti. It was only once they were each on their third cup of tea and half of the biscotti were gone did Kea speak again.
“Kyoya, are you sure you’re okay?”
The blackette stared into the pinkish liquid in his cup, letting his girlfriend’s question sink in. “What Komatsuzawa said… it is the same in my family, except it is switched.”
Kea tilted her head, placing her cup down on the tray. “What do you mean?”
Kyoya sighed, also placing his cup down. “Both of my brothers are very successful. Yuuichi, the eldest, is the natural heir to The Ootori Group. He is married, has already graduated Medical School, and works at the hospital with Father; he comes by once a week to discuss business with Father as well. Akito, the second son, is currently finishing Medical school. He’s more uptight than the rest of us, and he doesn’t like the fact that I am participating in the Host Club.”
Kyoya chuckled softly when Kea grunted, crossing her arms over her chest. “Shows what he knows.” She muttered, looking away from Kyoya. He chuckled again, dropping his arm from the back of the loveseat to wrap it around her shoulders. Instinctively, she curled into his side, resting her head on his shoulder. “Sorry. You were saying?”
“That was about it, actually. Akito isn’t my biggest fan, but I still respect both of my brothers greatly.”
Kea lifted a hand, brushing the necklace she wore. “What about your sister?”
“Fuyumi?” Kyoya sighed softly, prompting Kea to look up at him. His eyes had softened, a gentle look overtaking his face. “She is more like a mother to me than a sister. She is married as well; it was arranged, but she and her husband love each other very much. Fuyumi spent a lot of time at the house even after she was married, especially during my middle school years. She’s been the one person who has told me that I don’t need to be pushing myself so hard when I already succeed at everything I do. That I don’t need to exhaust myself just yet.”
Kyoya laughed softly, kissing the top of Kea’s head. “You two would get along well. She likes Tamaki; she’s probably the only one in my family who doesn’t mind me being a part of the Host Club. She likes hearing about “commoners”, quote-unquote, so she would be very interested in talking to you about your family.”
Kea smiled, brushing her fingers over the turquoise in the nautilus’ shell. “I’d like to meet her someday. I still have to thank her for the necklace.”
Kyoya chuckled. “I told her. She said she would love to meet you too.”
Kea sighed softly, snuggling closer to Kyoya. “So, what Komatsuzawa said, about his father… it reminded you of your own father and his expectations. His favoritism of your brothers, and consequently your need to prove yourself to him.”
Kyoya nodded, sighing. “Yes.”
“Kyoya…” Kea sat up, turning so she could take his hands in hers. “You are nothing like Komatsuzawa. What you strive for is fundamentally different. You don’t manipulate the lives of other people for your benefit. You don’t lie to make yourself look better. You don’t spread gossip to hurt the reputation of others while trying to build up your own.
“You are honest. You are dedicated. Your sister is right: you succeed at everything you do. You try to prove your worth, and in doing so you make meaningful connections. I have no doubt in my mind that you could absolutely succeed your father, maybe even surpass your brothers someday.”
Kyoya lifted an eyebrow. “How would I do that? They have his support.”
“And you have mine.” Kyoya swallowed at the emotion in Kea’s eyes. He squeezed her hands, silently asking her to continue. “If I am allowed to stand by you, I promise I’ll–.”
“What do you mean, “If I am allowed”?” Kyoya interrupted, narrowing his eyes. Kea seemed momentarily taken aback. “Do you honestly think I’m the kind of person to just throw you aside?”
“No!” She exclaimed, squeezing his hands. “Of course not! I just…” She averted her gaze, swallowing, and sighed heavily. “You asked if I was okay, because I seemed bothered after reading some of the newspapers.”
“Well, you were right.” Kyoya tilted his head. “One of the headlines was Love Affair Across Social Classes!” Kyoya’s heart froze when he realized where she was going with this. “I know you don’t care about social class the way others do, and I know that technically my family is rich enough to qualify as “nobility” in your culture, but no one outside of the Host Club knows that.”
Kea’s voice shook slightly. She hadn’t taken her hands back, but she hadn’t returned her gaze Kyoya’s either. “There are plenty of other girls whose families would be much more well-known and much more well-respected than mine, especially here. And, from what I know of your father, he still sees me as a commoner, which got me thinking…”
She trailed off, making Kyoya worry. He started to move one of his hands, with the intent to lift her head, but her whispered exhale of his name made him stop short. “Is… is this realistic… or are we just playing the fools in love? I…” Kea swallowed again, tightening her grip on his hands. “I care about you, so much. I want to stand by your side… but can I honestly stand by someone who is seen as a prince, compared to me?”
Kyoya inhaled sharply, his body reacting on instinct. Kea gasped when Kyoya pulled her into a tight embrace, causing her to practically straddle him. His arms tightened around her even more, bringing her as close to him as possible. “Kyoya?”
“You stupid girl.” He murmured into her hair.
Kea relaxed, bringing her arms up to rest her hands on his shoulder blades. She smiled, knowing what he meant by that. “Thank you,” she whispered.
Instead of saying anything, Kyoya moved some of her hair, brushing his nose against her neck before pressing his lips against her soft skin. Kea gasped, her hands fisting in his shirt. After a few moments, he pulled away, but only far enough so he could shift his grip, moving his left arm down from her shoulders to take her hand in his. His right arm tightened around her waist, making her truly straddle him before he leaned in to kiss her.
Kea closed her eyes, relaxing into the kiss. Kyoya rubbed her hip with his thumb, tracing little circles in the exposed flesh between her pants and shirt. Kea pressed her hands against his shoulder blades, a soft hum sounding in her throat when he pulled away.
“Kea…” Kyoya called softly, prompting her to open her eyes. He leaned his forehead on hers, smiling softly at her.
Kea smiled back, her eyes filling with love as she stared at him. “Yeah. I understand.”
His smile grew. ‘One day,’ he promised himself as he leaned back in to give her a sweet chaste kiss. ‘I’ll find the right words.'