Hope you enjoyed this chapter - it's just my little way of saying THANK YOU for everyone's understanding and patience.
P.S. To read this chapter, you will need to click the link above. From here on forward, chapters with mature content will be posted on Google Docs - still free to read, it just requires one additional link.
P.P.S. I'm so, so thrilled that things are finally heating up between Minato and Aya!
And WHOA about Wind! As I'm rewriting this one chapter at a time, I totally did not see that coming. It just...happened? No complaints though - should make things more interesting, don't you think?
Please click THIS LINK to read the chapter.
“I hope everything’s clear now, Aya.”
“Y-Yes, very much so, Ms. Grant.”
The older woman’s eyes twinkled. “Oh, please, call me Mom---”
“Karin!” A flush stained Minato’s handsome face.
“Since someone is stubbornly against doing so,” the librarian finished with a telltale look at her son.
“I’m being careful, not stubborn,” Minato growled.
“So you say,” the librarian huffed. “Anyway, I’ll leave you two alone, I’m sure you guys have much to talk about.”
Minato waited until Karin was well out of earshot before turning to Aya, and the first thing he noticed was the odd look on her face. “Aya?”
“She told me to call her Mom,” she whispered.
His lips twitched. So that was why she looked dumbstruck . “You can if you want to, you know.” As expected, the words had her blushing, and Minato then added with a straight face, “After all, we’ll eventually get to that point---”
Aya looked like she was literally about to melt now, and Minato realized he might have been teasing her too much. “I’m just kidding,” he said hastily.
“I, um, knew that.” She tried to laugh it off but only ended up sounding like a witch about to have a nervous breakdown, and her cheeks turned red. How un-cool can you get, Aya?!
Noticing how stiff and awkward Aya was beside him, Minato asked gently, “Will you come with me for a sec? There’s something I want to show you.”
Ten minutes later, and Aya couldn’t believe her eyes. How in the world did she and perhaps the entire student body not realize that the school had a rooftop garden next to the library?
Minato chuckled at the awestruck expression on Aya’s face when she turned his way. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”
“It’s incredible,” she breathed. There was a white picnic table with matching chairs under an ornately designed arbor, and across it was a two-person cushioned swing underneath well-trimmed trees. There were also flowers all around – lots and lots of them, and in just about every color of the rainbow.
As Aya continued to gaze at her surroundings in silent pleasure, Minato walked towards her and stopped only when he was right behind Aya. The way she immediately tensed made him smirk, but it also made him want to do more. Normally, he had no patience with inexperienced women, but apparently Aya was different in that sense, too.
With this girl, the more nervous he was, the harder he got. He supposed it only meant one thing, and to test his theory –
Aya let out a squeak of surprise when Minato’s arms suddenly went around her from behind, and another squeak escaped her when he pulled her back against him – hard.
“I was right,” she heard him murmur, his voice underscored by audible satisfaction. “There’s something about you that brings out the sadist in me.”
Err – what?
Her whimper was the sexiest little sound, and Minato made sure to bend his head as he let out a low, husky chuckle. The sound caressed her ear as planned, and Aya let out another whimper.
“Are you disappointed?” Minato asked under his breath.
“About w-what you said?”
Aya couldn’t help blushing even as she slowly shook her head. It was such an embarrassing thing to admit, but after all the misunderstandings between them, just the thought of having to lie to Minato made her feel sick.
Aya almost jumped out of her skin. “Please stop whispering into my ear,” she half-wailed.
There was a long moment of silence –
And then Minato said simply, “No.” Even worse, he added insult to injury, with Minato punctuating his answer with a swift lick of her ear. It was just too much, and Aya’s knees completely gave out.
But of course Minato was able to catch her before she could fall. Oh dear God. How was she going to survive this guy? He was just too sexy! Everything he did made her feel hot, bothered, and breathless, and she didn’t even think of resisting as he spun her around to face him.
Jade-green eyes stared down at her, and she could literally feel herself drowning in his intense gaze.
Oh God, the way he was looking at her –
Her fingers curled involuntarily against his shirt, and her heart banged against her chest at the muscular hardness of his body.
She felt his hands tighten around her waist, and her breathing quickened. She saw his gaze move down, drawn to the rapid rise and fall of her chest, and Aya bit her lip. Oh no. It was happening again.
Minato’s jaw clenched as he watched her sweet breasts start to swell.
“Aya.” His voice was hoarse. There were still so many things they had to talk about, dammit. Karin might have explained the gist of their family situation to Aya earlier, but he needed to make sure that she completely understood what it meant – what she had to sacrifice – if she still wanted to date him. He also wanted to know what the fuck Wind meant to her because no way in hell was he going to share –
Minato noticed the way her nipples prickled against the thin fabric of her school blouse.
Talking was overrated. Right now, there was a better way for them to communicate.
Aya’s heart jumped to her throat at the sudden glint in Minato’s gaze. “M-Minato?”
Instead of responding, he simply cupped her face, and his head started to lower.
Oh. My. Gooooooooooooooosh.
His mouth crushed hers in a sweet, hard, no-holds-barred kiss, and it was exactly the way she wanted it.
Maybe she was just like him, Aya thought dazedly. If something about her brought out the sadist in him, then something about Minato brought out the masochist in her.
Her lips parted in surrender at the first thrust of his tongue, its movement bold and forceful, but also exquisitely possessive. It made his kiss all the more intoxicating, and sanity was completely forgotten as her toes curled and her body turned soft and pliant against his powerfully rigid form. All she could do was wind her arms around his neck and kiss him back, thinking that she never ever wanted this to end. It was just too good, so, so good, and oh –
His name slipped past her lips in a helpless little moan, and hearing the unconscious plea in her voice made Minato’s control snap.
“Aya, dammit.” His hands moved down, squeezing the plump cheeks of her bottom hard, and he bit back a groan when Aya pressed her body closer to his, so damn close he could feel her pussy throbbing as his own engorged cock pulse against its soft, swollen folds.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
They were moving too damn fast. If it were any other woman, he wouldn’t have minded getting from first kiss to first fuck in the first fifteen minutes, but not with her. Never with his Aya.
Aya was stunned and confused when Minato practically sprung away from her like he had just learned she was a carrier of some contagious disease. “M-Minato?” Her bemused gaze took in the way he was obviously still breathing hard and the equally unmistakable bulge behind his school pants.
So what was wrong?
“If I hadn’t stopped now, I wouldn’t have been able to stop at all.” He would’ve laughed at the look of shock on Aya’s face if he could, but right now he was still too busy looking for ways to keep his arousal in check. What was it about this girl that always made him act out of character? Before Aya, he had never experienced any trouble controlling himself sexually, but this girl only had to kiss him and he had the craziest urge to flip her skirt up so he could sink his cock into her pussy.
Aya’s throat felt tight as she watched Minato draw a hard deep breath. It just felt too surreal, seeing him actually struggle to control his desire for her, and the knowledge made her heart feel fit to burst.
Was this real? Was this truly happening?
Minato saw Aya start pinching herself, and the sight turned out to be exactly what he needed. The urge to laugh didn’t exactly make his hard-on disappear, but at least he was now reasonably certain he could manage to keep him from throwing her on the ground and have his way with her.
Aya jumped in surprise when a shadow fell over her, and she belatedly realized that Minato had already closed the distance between them. “You’re, umm, alright now?” she asked nervously.
“I still want to fuck you,” he said easily, “if that’s what you’re asking.”
A strangled gasp escaped her.
“But I won’t,” he assured her with a smirk.
She started to relax.
Her face went up in flames. “Minato!”
But Minato only shrugged. He didn’t see any reason why he should apologize since he hadn’t been lying anyway. If they had been somewhere private tonight, she wouldn’t have been able to leave his arms with her virginity intact.
When Minato and Aya returned to the library, Karin took one look at the young couple – Aya’s face was burning with color while her son’s hand on the small of Aya’s back was distinctively possessive – and a sly smile appeared on her face. She got to you, didn’t she?
Minato scowled. Mind your own business.
Karin coughed to cover her laughter. She loved her son, but she wasn’t blind to his imperfections. He might look like an angel on the outside, but she knew just as well as anyone he was more a demon than a saint. As much as it pained her to admit it, Karin knew that Minato was no green boy when it came to sex. They might never have talked about such things, but they didn’t really have to. She had seen him with other girls, and it was enough. Use ‘em and leave ‘em had been his attitude with all the other girls.
But with Aya…
Karin was determined to keep her mouth shut for as long as Aya was around, but she almost lost it when they made it to Aya’s place and she saw the look on her son’s face. In the few times she had seen him part ways with girls he dated, he had always been polite and well-mannered, but because she knew him well, she had been able to see past his façade and recognize his impatience and desire to get rid of them the quickest way possible.
Tonight, however, was the exact opposite. It was so obvious that Minato hated the very idea of letting her go, and just as obvious was how Aya appeared perfectly unaware of the torment she was subjecting Minato to.
Karin burst into laughter as soon as her son returned to the car. “My poor little boy.”
“Grow up, Karin.”
“I know it’s hard,” she said solemnly, “but there’s no need to cry.”
Don’t rise to the bait, Minato warned himself.
“Aww, it’s so cute that you want to pretend you’re not missing her already---”
“Will you please act like your age?” Minato’s tone might be exasperated, but the stain of color on his chiseled features completely gave him away, and Karin started laughing again.
Thank you, Aya, she thought with an inner sigh of contentment. Her son had it all wrong. It was him – not her – who had to remember to act like his age. It wasn’t right that he was so serious and cold, wasn’t right that he didn’t have time to laugh and enjoy life as a young man.
So many things that weren’t right with Minato’s life because of Karin and her ex-husband, but thankfully, a sweet, innocent girl like Aya might be the key to change all that.
Phew! Hot scene between Minato and Aya, right? And that's just the start.
You don’t want to let her get too close because you’re afraid she might not love you enough to fight for you.
The words kept repeating itself in Minato’s mind no matter how hard he tried to exorcise them from his memory, and by the time he headed back to school the next day, his mood had drastically deteriorated to the point that he was unable to hide behind his usual mask of politeness. Instead, Minato’s true nature came to the fore, and the combination of his impatience and acid tongue caused even his own teachers to alternately stammer and mumble at his presence.
Why the hell did Karin have to say that, anyway?
His mother meant the world to him, but he wished just this once she had kept her mouth shut instead.
All that talk about Aya was pointless.
It was as if everyone and their cousin had seen Aya and Wind on one of their dates during Thanksgiving break, and ever since classes resumed, it was all everyone could talk about. If he heard one more person talk about how Wind did this or that to Aya, honest to God, but Minato might just end up committing murder – whoever that unlucky person might be.
Karin lifted a brow when she saw her son. “Someone certainly woke up the wrong side of the bed,” she said dryly.
“Whose fault do you think that is?” he snapped.
Karin wasn’t at all insulted and she doubted she could feel so no matter how much she tried. Right now, she was just too stunned – and pleased – that Minato, for the first time ever, was acting his age and talking back to her.
She took a deep breath, intending to congratulate him for finally acting like a normal eighteen year old rather than holding himself back like a noble, selfless samurai of old, but just as she opened her mouth, her son beat her to speaking.
Karin pressed her lips together to prevent herself from smiling ruefully. Oh well. It was good while it lasted.
“I didn’t mean to snap at you,” Minato apologized tautly.
“You’ve obviously had a bad day,” she observed sympathetically.
He answered her with a shrug, which Karin wisely interpreted as a ‘yeah, I did, but I don’t want to talk about it’.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“There’s nothing to talk about.”
Footsteps that suddenly halted by the doorway had both of them looking up.
It was Aya, pale-faced, clutching a pile of books.
“Aya!” The librarian was the first one to speak, her pretty face breaking into a smile of genuine welcome. “It’s been so long since I last saw you.”
Aya felt her heart starting to crack. The older woman obviously meant every word, and the only way she could feel like that was if she was a thousand percent secure of Minato’s feelings for her.
“Sorry I interrupted you guys.” She kept her gaze glued to the librarian, knowing that if she let her look at Minato, it would be the end of her.
“You did no such thing,” Karin protested.
And of course the other woman would say that, Aya thought.
“Mr. Landers told me he’d give me plus points on the next quiz if I dropped these off for him---” In the corner of her eye, she saw Minato start to walk towards her, and Aya’s heart skipped a beat. “So, umm, anyway…” Panic started to spiral out of control inside of her as she sensed him approaching, and she anxiously looked around, hoping for some nearby table or chair she could dump the books and be on her way –
“Let me help you with that.”
Minato’s deep voice struck her like lightning, and Aya almost lost her hold on the books as the sound made her literally jump back.
A moment later, the reality of her situation hit her, with Minato standing so close the scent of his aftershave once again teased her nostrils, and her body began to ache and burn at his presence. Another moment, and he was reaching for the books, his fingers accidentally brushing her skin –
As the books fell to the floor, Minato caught a glimpse of the horror on Aya’s face, and his lips tightened.
Did he disgust her now that she and Wind were going out?
When she started to turn away, his brain told him to let her go, but even so his hand was moving at the same time, his fingers wrapping around her wrist – and then he was forcing her to turn around as he demanded, “Why are you avoiding me?”
Aya kept her gaze to the floor. “Please let go of me.”
“Not until you answer my question.”
Aya couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “How can you even ask such a thing when she’s here?”
Minato was perplexed and frustrated. “What do you mean she?”
Her head shot up at the way he was pretending to be obtuse about everything. “You really want me to spell it out?” she asked shakily.
“Spell what out?”
“I’m talking about Ms. Grant,” she cried out.
Aya saw the way the librarian stiffened at Minato’s slip, and the crack in her heart grew larger. “My what, Minato?” She saw the older woman pale and even Minato looked thrown off, but she no longer cared. She was suddenly sick and tired of having to tiptoe around the tissue, and just this once she wanted everything out in the open.
“No,” Aya whispered. “We both know I didn’t.” And when she saw Minato stiffen, she said wearily, “There’s no need to lie. I know everything.”
Minato’s face turned impassive, and his voice was very much controlled when he asked, “What exactly are you saying, Aya?”
“I’ve almost known from the very start. It was…impossible not to notice, the relationship you and Ms. Grant---” She broke off at the older woman’s gasp. A moment later, the librarian had hurriedly left her counter to join them, a look of tremendous worry on her face.
“What do you mean it’s impossible not to notice, Aya?”
Because I love Minato, Aya thought sadly, and so it’s impossible not to see how much he loves you.
“Aya?” The librarian’s voice was anxious. “I just want to know how you could’ve possibly figured things out on your own.”
Aya started to shake her head, but Minato then said in a steely voice, “This isn’t a game. We need to know how you found out---”
It hurt to hear Minato speak of him and the librarian as part of a ‘we’, and so she hastily cut him off, saying, “I promise I won’t breathe a word to anyone.”
“That’s not enough,” Minato said coldly.
“Please, Aya,” the librarian said quietly. “This is so important to me and my son.”
“I know. And I---”
What was that Ms. Grant had just said?
Had she just referred to Minato as her…son?
“What is it?” Minato asked sharply.
Aya seemed to start hyperventilating, and alarmed at her increasingly deathlike pallor, Minato took hold of her shoulders to give her a swift, hard shake. “Breathe, Aya.”
Instinctively reacting to the commanding note of Minato’s voice, Aya’s breath whooshed out of her, and color started to return to her cheeks.
And she blurted out, “I thought you were lovers!”
At this point in Aya and Minato's story, I wonder if you're asking the same question I asked myself when I first started writing It Started With A Secret.
“You, umm, got a crumb there.” Aya pointed to the corner of Wind’s lip.
It was the second to the last day of their Thanksgiving break, and she and Wind were out on their third date. They had watched a movie earlier – aka another way for Wind to torture her – and now, they were having dinner at an Italian restaurant that was so fancy it made pasta sound utterly complicated.
Wind’s fingers touched the spot Aya had pointed at. “Here?”
“Umm, yeah, but just a little to the left…no, a little…”
“How about you do it for me instead, like a sweet, loving girlfriend would?”
Aya tentatively reached across the table to brush the offending crumb off him.
Once again, Wind had managed to take her completely by surprise, this time by capturing her wrist with a firm grip while he took a quick bite of her fingers. It didn’t hurt at all, and it happened so fast that by the time she realized what he had just done, Aya’s fingers were free of his lips and only her wrist remained captive in his hold.
“Y-you---” Shock made her incoherent, and in the end all Aya could do was glare at him as she tried to yank her hand out of his hold. But, as it had been in all their dates, Wind still managed to get his way by pressing a quick kiss to her knuckles before finally letting go.
Their first “date”, he had bent down to kiss her on the cheek, but with his lips so dangerously close to the corner of her lips it had almost given her a heart attack. Their second date, he had gifted her with a cute necklace and insisted that he be the one to put it on her. He had asked her to lift her hair up, and as soon as she had, Aya had ended up almost breaking her neck when Wind took the chance to slowly run his fingers down her nape.
And now this!
Aya could only shake her head at Wind, torn between dismay and exasperation. “Is this really how boyfriends are?”
Wind’s broad shoulders moved in a negligent shrug. “It’s the only kind I know how to be.”
“You make me feel more like a toy than a girlfriend,” she protested.
Wind raised a brow. “Funny you should say that, since a toy is exactly how I think a girlfriend should be.”
Her mouth opened and closed, but in the end, she said finally, “I think I’m starting to worry about the kind of visual novel I’ll end up designing.”
Wind threw his head back with a laugh. While he was not in love or even sexually attracted to Aya in any way, he almost wish he was, if only for the fact that she was the only girl he knew who could make him laugh so damn effortlessly.
He could always try seducing her, and he knew exactly which buttons he would need to push to get her to fall for him. Even though she had never said a word about it, Wind knew Aya had a thing for Minato Wyndham – just as he knew that the other guy had turned her down. That kind of heartbreak turned innocent girls like Aya into lambs for the slaughter – and it used to be, Wind wouldn’t have had any second thoughts about devouring her like the wolf he was.
But with Aya, he found himself having a conscience – and damn if he knew why that was so.
On their way out of the restaurant, Wind brought up the topic of their “scheduled” breakup, and when he saw how Aya start to fidget, visibly uneasy at the thought of having to dump him even though it was all pretend, Wind could only shake his head at how soft-hearted she was.
“You know you’ll always end up hurt if you’re too nice, right?”
Aya frowned. “Are you saying I should be less nice to be happy?”
“You know what I mean.” Wind’s tone was impatient.
“Actually, I---” Aya suddenly stopped speaking, her face turning pale.
He pulled his gaze away from her to follow her line of sight, and that was when he saw Minato together with an older woman. Wind’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. What the hell? That was the librarian, wasn’t it? The school librarian was Aya’s rival?
Aya fought to keep herself from crying. Did she really need anymore proof than this, she wondered almost hysterically. Even though he had already turned her down, a part of her had kept on foolishly hoping that he had done so for different reasons – any reason except this, which was the truth.
For one painful moment, she allowed herself to gaze at him, and her heart ached at the cold, hardened expression on Minato’s gorgeous face. It was almost as if he hated her, Aya thought numbly. What in the world had she done to make him hate her?
Wind’s arm suddenly went around her shoulders, and his sudden touch gave her the strength to finally look away from Minato. But when her gaze accidentally clashed with the librarian’s and she saw that the older woman was about to speak –
Terrified that she would end up bursting into tears if she heard the librarian speak a single word, she mustered a smile and a nod, and then she quickly looked up at Wind, saying in desperate cheer, “Let’s go?”
“Sure, babe.” The words made Minato flinch, but only Wind saw this, and more interestingly, he noticed how the older woman’s gaze was filled with concern as she looked at Aya.
When they were inside his car, Wind asked levelly, “You okay?”
Aya smiled brightly. “Of course.”
After a moment, he said slowly, “If you want me to make it clear to him that there’s nothing going on---” He stopped speaking at the vehement way Aya started shaking her head.
“It’s not like that between us, and if it’s okay with you, I’d rather not speak about it.” Because if she did, Aya thought painfully, then she might start crying. And never be able to stop.
Classes resumed Monday the following week, and Minato once again headed straight to the library as soon as the school bell rang for the last time. The library felt empty without Aya in it, but he ruthlessly shoved the thought to the back of his mind. The library had always been his place and Karin’s. So why the fuck should Aya’s absence have any kind of impact on how he felt about the place?
“I have a message for you,” Karin said as soon as he came up to the counter.
“A message?”“Aya dropped by at lunch.”
“She asked me to thank you for helping her with her lessons, but that it’s no longer necessary to continue since she and her friends have decided to form a study group.”
Minato only nodded at this, but Karin wasn’t fooled at all.
“You’re hurting yourself unnecessarily with this, Minato. And more importantly, you’re being unfair to that lovely girl---”
“I’m doing this for her,” Minato interrupted in a low, furious hiss, “and you know it.”
“I do know that, which is why I’ve been telling you from the start it’s unnecessary.” She saw Minato struggle with his emotions in silence, and Karin’s heart ached for him. “Do you know, you’re doing exactly what your father did back when we first started dating – and look where we are now.”
Minato was stunned at what he was hearing. When Karin had made it clear she didn’t want any mention of his father – who was also her ex-husband – he had respected this, and yet now…
“We were so unbelievably in love, but in the end, he sent me away because he thought it was the right thing to do. He never gave me---” Karin had to stop speaking as bitterness threatened to make her choke, and she had to take a deep breath before she could speak again. “He never gave me the chance to fight for us. No matter how much I begged him to believe I could face any kind of hardship your grandmother would put in our way – he never believed me, and I…I can never forgive him for it.” And she meant every word. She could never forgive Minato’s dad, just as she could never stop loving him.
Her eyes stinging with unshed tears, she looked at her son, this beautiful young boy whom she had been forced to give up because of one woman’s narrow view of the world. No doubt he had been raised to hate her, and yet somehow he had still ended up loving her just as if he had grown up with a mother’s love.
Minato was perfect, Karin thought with a motherly rush of tenderness, and as he was the very best son any mom could ever hope for…
What kind of mother would she be if she were to allow him to repeat his father’s mistakes?
“I don’t think you’re pushing Aya away because you want to protect her, Minato. I think it’s the other way around, and you’re pushing her away to protect yourself. You don’t want to let her get too close because you’re afraid she might not love you enough to fight for you.”
Hi everyone. Sorry for being so quiet the past few weeks. The truth is, I've been struggling again. In my world, with the way I was raised (as someone who's Filipino-Chinese), things like 'anxiety' don't exist, and so it's taken me this long to finally start accepting that it's what's been holding me back and keeping me from writing and working.