Until Then: Severing Ties

The whole family was seated around the table in the dining room. The food was served and everyone started eating. 

“The food is delicious Mrs. Ka--- Grandma.” Ayane commented. Mrs. Kaede looked at her and smiled sweetly. 

“I’m glad you like it. I’m so happy that Ryu finally brought someone home.” When she said those words, Ryuji choked on his food and Ayane stifled a laugh. Ryuji looked at her grandmother sullenly. Ayane took Ryuji’s hand in hers and smiled.

“Well, I’m glad I’m the first.” Ryuji squeezed Ayane’s hand. Mr. and Mrs. Tennouji looked at each other and smiled. 

“Ayane, if you don’t mind me asking, have you tried to find the twins’ father?” Mrs. Kaede asked. Mr. Taizo, who knew the truth, looked at Ayane intently. He wanted to see her reaction whenever someone mentions the twins’ father. Ayane took a sip of water before she answered. 

“What happened to me was unfortunate and it took a while before I found the courage to find out the truth. I did try to look for any clues but whenever there was a lead, it ended up cold so I gave up.” Ayane answered. Something in her words struck Mr. Taizo. He kept silent on the matter, afraid that he'd reveal something he shouldn’t. Mrs. Kaede smiled at Ayane and Ryuji looked at her with loving eyes. 

“But mommy found daddy.” Everyone looked at Kayda as she said those words. They didn’t expect that she would listen in on their conversation. Ayane smiled at Kayda and patted her head.

“Yes, sweetie; Mommy did find daddy.” With those words, Mr. Taizo seemed convinced that Ayane knew the truth. He was compelled to ask but before he could, Mrs. Kaede got up and gave Ayane a hug. 

“My grandson is lucky to have you.” Mrs. Kaede said. Ayane smiled and wrapped her arms around Mrs. Kaede. Ryuji and Mr. Taizo looked at each other and smiled. Kayda and Kotaro were looking intently as Mrs. Kaede hugged their mother. After lunch, Mr. Taizo and Mrs. Kaede took the kids outside to play while Ryuji and Ayane were left inside. 

“I’m happy that the kids like it here and that your grandparents love them too.” Ayane said. Ryuji placed his arm around Ayane and pulled her into a hug. As they stood there, it dawned on Ayane that Ryuji had never said anything about his parents. She knew very little of them from what Mr. Taizo told her. She knew about Ryuji’s past and was reluctant to open up the topic. 

“I know what you’re thinking.” Ryuji said which made Ayane come back to her senses. She lightly pushed Ryuji and looked up into his eyes. 

“What are you talking about?” Ayane asked. Ryuji pulled her onto the sofa and they sat down. 

“You’re thinking about asking me about my parents, aren’t you?” Ryuji said with a smile. Ayane looked flushed as Ryuji was spot on. She tried to brush it off but she was already caught. She lowered her head in embarrassment. 

“I was just curious.” Ayane said; her voice soft as a whisper. Ryuji put his arm behind Ayane and pulled her towards him. Ayane looked up at him, surprised from his sudden movement. 

“My father never really cared about me after my mother died. I was only 7 when our home was broken into and my mother died while protecting me. My father couldn’t take it. He blamed me for her death.” As Ryuji told his story, Ayane could see in his eyes the sadness and pain he felt. She moved closer to Ryuji and held his hand to offer him support while he was reminiscing about his tragic past. 

“Not long after her death, my father married another woman. This woman was nothing like my mother. She was mean, spiteful towards me. She used my father’s hatred towards me to drive me away from them. She wanted her son to inherit my father’s company. She even tried to kill me by setting my room on fire. It was a good thing that I escaped. Every last piece of my mother’s memories were in that room.” Ryuji’s voice became quiet. Ayane had no words to say. She felt sad but at the same time, she wanted to make them pay for his sufferings. 

“Why didn’t you fight back?” Ayane asked. Ryuji looked at her and smiled. 

“I couldn’t and even if I could. I didn’t want to. It wasn’t worth it. I’m just happy that grandpa managed to take me away from there and he helped me live a better life.” Ayane felt somewhat relieved but deep inside her, she was still upset. She hated the thought of Ryuji being abused like that. 

“Don’t be upset. It’s all in the past.” Ryuji said. Ayane smiled at Ryuji and gave him a hug. She let on that she wouldn’t let it bother her but deep inside, Ayane was already thinking of a way to make them regret their actions. She was still hung up on her revenge that she didn’t realize that she was slowly being consumed by her anger. 

When Mr. Taizo and Mrs. Kaede returned with the twins, it was almost time for their nap. Ayane was about to say that she’ll be taking the twins home but Mrs. Kaede insisted that they stay for dinner. 

“The twins’ need to nap for the afternoon; May we use one of the rooms?” Ayane asked politely. Mrs. Kaede immediately jumped up from the sofa and offered one of their guest rooms but Ryuji offered his room instead. 

“Let them sleep in my room.” Ryuji said. Mrs. Kaede agreed and when the twins heard about it, they were elated. 

“We’re going to daddy’s room?” Kayda asked excitedly. Ryuji carried the two upstairs to his bedroom. When they opened the door, the room was spacious and exquisite. There was a balcony and the view was amazing. The twins hurriedly ran inside and checked everything. Ayane looked around and noticed that the room was quite bare. 

“Daddy’s room is big.” Kotaro said. After running about, Ayane called the twins to come to her. 

“Okay, it’s nap time. Come here.” The twins ran towards her and she placed them on the bed. She took off their shoes and gave them each their bottles. Ayane sat next to them as they lay on the bed. Ryuji sat on the other side of the bed. 

“Mommy, why can’t daddy live with us?” Kayda asked. Ayane was surprised with her question. She looked over at Ryuji who was also surprised. Ayane sighed and held Kayda’s hand.

“Sweetie, you should go to sleep. Let’s not talk about it for now.” Ayane said. Kayda nodded and put her bottle back in her mouth. After a few minutes, they fell asleep. Ayane and Ryuji were on the balcony, they were quiet, unable to think of a way to explain to the twins why Ryuji can’t live with them. Ayane hung her head in her hands as she was stumped. Ryuji walked closer to her and held her hand.

“I don’t think the twins’ will remember asking that question when they wake up. So you don’t have to keep thinking about it if it bothers you so much.” Ryuji said. Ayane looked up at him, her eyes longing for something she couldn’t say. She knew she loved him but because she still harbors bitterness in her heart, she can’t come into terms with her feelings for Ryuji. If she could let go of the pain in her heart, only then can she fully love Ryuji. Ryuji noticed that she was staring at him.

“Are you alright?” He asked. Ayane snapped out of her trance and nodded. 

“Yeah, I was just thinking of something.” She said. She turned away from Ryuji and held onto the rails of the balcony. Ryuji wrapped his arms around her and Ayane sighed. They stayed quiet for a while before they decided to head back inside before the twins’ woke up from their nap. After dinner, Ayane and the twins said their goodbyes to Mr. and Mrs. Tennouji.

“We’ll come back to visit.” Kayda said as she hugged Mrs. Kaede. Kotaro was being carried by Mr. Taizo while saying goodbye. Ryuji went to Ayane's side and gave her a hug. 

“Be careful on your way back.” He said. Ayane nodded and planted a kiss on Ryuji’s cheek. She called for the kids and they ran towards the car all while looking back and waving their hands. Ayane strapped them onto their seats and she went around to the driver’s seat. Before she could enter, Ryuji stopped her. 

“What is it?” She asked. Ryuji was silent. He cupped Ayane’s face and planted a kiss on her forehead. Ayane was surprised by his sudden gesture. She quickly looked down to hide her blushing face. She cleared her throat before speaking.

“Well, we better go.” She said. Ryuji nodded and Ayane went inside the car and drove off. During the car ride, Kayda and Kotaro were silent. Ayane called Rei and put her on speaker. 

“Hey Aya, are you guys on your way home?” She asked. The twins immediately turned their heads when they heard her voice. 

“Mommy’s driving right now.” Kayda shouted. Rei could be heard giggling through the phone. 

“I’m on my way home too. I’ll see you there.” Rei ended the call and the car was back to being silent. Ayane looked at the twins through the rearview mirror and they seemed to be bothered by something. 

“Is everything okay back there?” Ayane asked. The twins looked at each other and then back at their mother. 

“Did mommy find daddy yet?” Kotaro asked. Ayane was surprised by his question. She stopped at the red light and looked back at them. 

“Why do you ask that, sweetie?” She asked. Kotaro looked at Kayda firmly before he answered. 

“What if he comes back and Daddy Ryu won’t visit us anymore.” Kotaro started tearing up and it made Kayda tear up too. Ayane looked back and saw that it was still a red light. She quickly reassured the twins. 

“Hey, don’t cry. Daddy Ryu won’t leave you. I promise that. He loves you so much and he wouldn’t want to see you crying like this. It’ll make him sad.” Ayane said. The twins calmed down and Ayane continued to drive. While driving, she occasionally looked through the rearview mirror to see what the twins were up to. They fell asleep a short while after crying. They arrived back at the mansion and Ayane woke up the twins so they could walk inside. 

“Mommy Rei, we’re back.” Kayda shouted once she entered the front door. Rei ran up to the twins and gave them a hug. Ayane followed after them and closed the front door. 

“Did you have fun at your grandparents’ place?” Rei asked. The twins nodded furiously and started telling Rei about what they saw in the Tennouji Manor. Rei pulled them into the living room and sat on the sofa. Ayane went upstairs to put down their bag and to prepare the twins’ pajamas. 

“Daddy had the biggest room.” Kayda explained. Rei listened intently at how the twins enjoyed their visit. It made her happy to see that the twins love their father dearly and hold him in high regard. It wouldn’t be a problem when they find out that Ryuji is their real father. 

“Kayda! Kotaro! Time for your bath.” Ayane called out from upstairs. Rei held their arms while they walked up the stairs. 

“Will Daddy come and visit us here too?” Kotaro asked as they were being undressed. Ayane and Rei looked at each other. Ayane smiled at Kotaro before answering. 

“Why don’t we give Daddy a call later before you go to bed? You should ask him then.” Ayane said. Kayda and Kotaro looked at each other and smiled the biggest smile. They hurriedly went to the bathroom to bathe. Ayane made sure to scrub them both clean before rinsing the soap off and drying them. When they were dressed for bed, Rei excused herself and went downstairs to prepare the twins’ milk. As promised, Ayane took out her phone and dialed Ryuji’s number. 

“Did you miss me already?” Ryuji said the moment he answered the call. Ayane scoffed. 

“Someone misses you more than I do.” Ayane said. She handed the phone to the twins. 

“Daddy!” They both said in unison. 

“Did you miss Daddy already?” Ryuji said. Kayda and Kotaro answered yes while bobbing their head up and down. 

“When will you come and visit us?” Kayda asked. Ayane could hear Ryuji’s laugh at the other end of the line. 

“I’ll be at Mommy’s office tomorrow for lunch.” He said. Ayane was surprised to hear that. She wanted to say something but she was cut off by Kotaro’s question. 

“Can’t Daddy just live with us?” Ryuji was quiet on the other line and so was Ayane. Both of them didn’t know what to say. Ayane was about to say something when Kayda said something. 

“Daddy, just buy Mommy a house so that we can stay in one house together.” Ayane was shocked. She quickly told off the twins.

“Hey, where did you learn that from?” Ayane asked. Kayda kept silent. 

“Just be patient. Once I win your Mommy’s heart, I’ll ask her to marry me and I’ll buy her a big house where we’ll stay together. Would you like that?” Kayda and Kotaro looked at Ayane and smiled. 

“Yes! Try your best Daddy!” Kayda said. Ayane couldn’t help but smile after seeing her kids so happy. She took back the phone when Rei arrived with the kids’ milk. The twins said their goodbyes before Ayane left the room to talk to Ryuji in private. 

“Hey, it’s me. I’m sorry about that. The twins just really like you.” Ayane explained. Ryuji chuckled.

“There’s no need to be sorry. I enjoy hearing their voices and making them happy.” Ryuji said. Ayane wanted to say something but she couldn’t find the right words. Eventually, Ryuji felt that she was anxious about something.

“Ayane, if you want to tell me something, I’m all ears.” He said. Ayane sighed and stared at the window.

“Ryu, why are you so fixated on me?” She asked. Ryuji was silent for a while which made Ayane’s thoughts race. When he finally answered, Ayane was speechless.

“Because I like you and I want to be with you.” As plain and simple as that, Ayane was touched. But as much as she wanted to be with Ryuji, she still can’t shake off the fact that she had unfinished business with someone else. She wanted to finish everything and finally cut ties with the people who hurt her. 

“Can you really wait for me?” Ayane asked. She heard a chuckle on the other line. 

“I’ve tried my best to find you 4 years ago. Now that I have you, I won’t let you go again. Even if I have to wait a thousand years, I’ll pick you over and over again.” Ryuji’s words had solidified in Ayane’s heart. 

“You better not leave or you’ll never see me or the twins ever again.” Ayane said, half-jokingly. Ryuji chuckled and agreed. 

“I won’t.” Ryuji answered. And with that, Ayane booked herself a flight to Tokyo without informing anyone. The following day, she went to her office earlier than Rei. She searched for the document about the agreement between her and Ryuji. Before leaving for her flight, she signed the document and left it on her table for Rei to see. Without a note nor a text or call, she left Archetive to go back to Tokyo. 

When Ayane arrived in Tokyo, she immediately went to Miyu’s company which she has rightful ownership to. In the president’s office, Miyu and Kenji were discussing getting a hold of the company when Ayane knocked on the door. 

“Come in.” Miyu said. They were both surprised when they saw Ayane walking inside. 

“You!” Miyu shouted. She was about to assault Ayane when Kenji stopped her. 

“I’m not here to pick a fight with you. I’m here to settle everything.” Ayane said without missing a beat. Miyu had collected herself before speaking. 

“Are you planning on giving me back my company? If so, what are your conditions?” Miyu asked. Ayane pulled out a contract from her case and handed it to Miyu. 

“I’m not asking for too much. I just want you to come clean and admit your mistakes. I won’t file a case against you but someone in this building needs to know what happened 4 years ago.” Ayane looked over at Kenji before looking back at Miyu. She was shaking while reading the contract. She knew the consequences she would face if she told Kenji the truth. It was bad enough that their marriage was out of responsibility, if the truth were to come out, it would likely terminate whatever sympathy Kenji has for her. 

“I won’t agree to this. I’ve done nothing wrong.” Miyu denied. Ayane wasn’t in the mood so she went on ahead and pulled out a few more papers from her case.

“I gave you a chance but you still won’t redeem yourself.” She faced Kenji who was oblivious to what was happening. 

“4 years ago, when I left Tokyo, I found out that I was pregnant with your baby.” Ayane started. Kenji’s eyes widened when he heard about Ayane’s pregnancy. He made a beeline for her and held her hands. Before he could speak, Ayane pulled her hands away from his grip and glared at Miyu.

“Not even a month after I found out. Someone had ordered a few men to beat me up. One of which was Itsuo whom I recognized in an instant.” Ayane’s tone became cold and Miyu started shaking. Kenji, who was still confused about what was happening, had formulated his own idea of the matter. 

“I was beaten mercilessly and I lost our baby. That’s why I never wanted to come back here.” Ayane said. Kenji was shaking with anger when he realized everything. He looked over at Miyu who was already on the floor, crying. 

“What about the twins? I found out that you became pregnant from a one-night stand.” Kenji said. Ayane sighed and pulled out a piece of paper from her case. 

“It was true that I became pregnant from a one-night stand but this signifies that Ryuji is the real father of the twins. I’ve investigated the matter and I also remember what had happened.” Ayane explained. Kenji had no other arguments to present. He turned to Miyu to vent his anger. 

“I should’ve listened to Ayane. I believed all your lies and I feel stupid. I’ve wasted everything.” Kenji said. All throughout the conversation, Ayane was indifferent. She neither felt sad nor sympathetic for Kenji. All she felt was pity. She had one more revelation to make before she could be free of all the shackles at her feet. 

“One last thing, that young boy is not your son.” Ayane pulled out the DNA test results and gave it to Kenji. There was nothing else for Ayane to do. 

“From now on, I will have nothing to do with any of you. I’m willing to sever my ties with you and I hope you can as well. I’m done hurting.” And with those words, Ayane left the building. She had given Miyu back the shares of the company as well as the rightful ownership. She checked her phone and noticed that Ryuji had been calling her incessantly. She can’t wait to go back to Osaka.

Meanwhile at Archetive, Rei was confused as to why Ayane decided to leave early. When she got to the office, she didn’t bother coming into her office since she assumed that she was busy with work. By lunch time, Ryuji came to Archetive as he promised. He passed by the room where the twins were staying.

“Daddy!” Both the twins ran to Ryuji and gave him a hug. 

“Let’s have lunch with Mommy.” He said. As they left the kids’ room, they ran into Rei who was also on his way to Ayane’s office. 

“She’s been quiet the whole day. I wonder what she’s up to.” Rei told Ryuji. When they knocked on her door, there was no answer. Rei slowly opened the door and saw that Ayane was nowhere to be found. The twins pushed through but saw no one. 

“Where’s Mommy?” Kotaro asked. Rei and Ryuji looked at each other but were unable to answer. 

“Where did she go?” Rei asked herself. She went over to her desk and noticed the documents. She opened it and realized that it was the partnership contract for Archetive and Habitect. She immediately called Ryuji to come closer.

“Ayane just signed your partnership contract.” Rei said. Ryuji quickly grabbed the contract from Rei’s hand and examined it. It was true. Ayane had signed the contract but they were confused as to why she didn’t tell anybody. 

“I’ll try calling her. Can you locate where her phone is? Ryuji asked Rei, to which Rei nodded in response. The twins sat down by the coffee table and started eating while looking at the adults frantically looking for their Mommy. 

“She’s not answering.” Ryuji said. Rei was almost done tracking her location. 

“I got it. She’s in… Tokyo?” Rei looked at Ryuji and it seemed like they concluded the same thing. They thought that she went back to Tokyo to reconcile with her ex. Feeling frazzled, Ryuji didn’t know what to do. Should he go after her or should he just wait for her to come back? Feeling uneasy, he decided to go to Tokyo himself. 

“I’ll let you use the private jet. Take the kids with you. They’re just as worried as you.” Rei said. Ryuji was confused about Rei being nonchalant with her children. His curiosity got the better of him and decided to ask. 

“You’re willing to let me take your kids to Tokyo? I would understand if it were Ayane but do you trust me that much with your children?” Ryuji asked to which Rei raised her eyebrow. 

“What are you talking about? They are not my kids. They’re Ayane’s kids. You and Mr. Taizo thought of the same thing. Do I look more like a mom than Ayane?” Rei answered. It was starting to piece together inside Ryuji’s head. 

“But they call you Mommy and you were the one who took them from me the first day we met.” Ryuji said. Rei shook her head and smiled.

“Ayane taught them to call me Mommy so they won’t have a hard time learning that word. As for the other occasions, Ayane and I raised them so it was only natural that they’d get attached to me too.” Rei answered. Ryuji realized the possibility of the twins being his. This information started to confuse him and the only one who could answer it was Ayane. Rei called to prepare the private jet. As soon as it was ready to fly, Ryuji took the twins with him to Tokyo.

When they reached Tokyo, Ryuji tried calling Ayane’s phone once more. This time she answered the call. 

“Where are you?” Ryuji asked. Ayane was silent for a while before she answered. 

“I had business here in Tokyo but I’ll be back after I’m done here. I’m sorry we couldn’t have lunch together.” Ayane said. Rei sent over Ayane’s location and Ryuji knew where to find her. 

“You could’ve told me but I’ll forgive you.” Ryuji said. Ayane’s giggle could be heard through the line. Ryuji hailed a taxi and got the twins onboard. He followed Rei’s directions all while talking to Ayane. They reached a park by the city and Ryuji saw Ayane walking aimlessly while holding her phone to her ear. 

“Call me back when you get home.” Ryuji said. He hung up the call and got out of the taxi. The twins immediately ran to their mother. 

“Mommy!” Ayane was surprised to hear two familiar voices. She turned to look and saw her kids. 

“What are you doing here?” She asked. She looked up and saw Ryuji was standing in front of her. 

“How did you know where to find me?”Ayane asked. Ryuji came up to her and wrapped her in his embrace. 

“I have my ways.” Ryuji kissed Ayane’s forehead. After their short reunion, they both went back to the airport to take the private jet back to Osaka. On the flight, the twins fell asleep while the adults were talking. 

“Ryu, don’t you want to tell me something.” Ayane said. Ryuji looked at her and he knew what she meant. 

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. I wanted to but I couldn’t think of a way to tell you without you hating me. I didn’t want you to hate me.” Ryuji explained. Ayane wasn’t mad. She already knew the truth about what happened that night. 

“I’m guessing you already know about the twins.” Ayane said. Ryuji stood up and sat next to Ayane. He still couldn’t believe that he was the father. 

“Now that I’m the kids’ actual father, is it okay to answer Kayda’s question about us living together?” Ryuji asked to which Ayane smiled in response. 

“Are you willing to buy me a house?” Ayane asked jokingly but Ryuji took it seriously. 

“I’d do anything to make up for all the years I’ve missed.” Ryuji said as he kissed Ayane’s forehead. When they arrived back at Osaka, they went on ahead to Archetive where Rei was waiting. 

“Where have you been and why didn’t you tell me you were leaving?” Rei asked Ayane. She looked over at Ryuji who was carrying the twins. 

“Rei, is it okay if I move my kids to our own house?” Ryuji asked. Rei’s eyes widened. She looked at Ryuji then to Ayane.

“You knew?” She asked to which Ayane responded with a sly smile.

Comments (1)
goodnovel comment avatar
Precious Ramos
The story was great but the coin needed to open the next chapter is too high!

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