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Don't Give Up (On Me)

Chapter 1: One

by isilelensar

Oda, Shimane Prefecture

“Do you like it?” the voice behind her asked, sounding hopeful. A voice she loathed, but had no choice but to listen to. The blindfold he’d made her wear fell away from her eyes. She flinched at the brightness, and squinted until her eyes acclimated. It took her a moment to scan the room.
“It’s fine, I guess,” she replied indifferently, and stepped inside, dropping her bag to the floor.

It was bigger than most of the others she’d been consigned to. In fact, it was damn near palatial; one wall was nothing but windows, with a view of the sea. It was roughly the size of a luxury hotel room, or maybe a large studio apartment. Complete with kitchenette, a bathroom, and a closet. There was a round dining table with four chairs in front of the windows. The bed was huge, too.

If only she were here at any other time.
If only she were here with Eita.
Maybe then she’d actually like it.

“How long are we going to be here?”
“Long enough. Do you need anything?”
“No. I’m good.”
“You haven’t eaten since last night…”
“I’m not hungry.”
“I’ll buy you some food.”
“Where are we, anyway?”
“We’re safe. For now.”

Hitoka snorted as he left, quietly ordering Kyotani to stand watch, and closing the door with only the clicking of the lock sounding through the room. It was always like this. He pretended he cared, while she pretended she was fine. But it was mostly obsession on his part, and loathing on hers. She kept telling herself to not give up, to keep hoping they’d find her and bring her back home. Unfortunately, he still kept them moving, unable to remain in one place too long for fear of being caught.

Well, hopefully, her little messages were finding their recipients. She hated feeling useless, and if there was any way to leave a clue, leave some sort of trail, let those she knew were doing everything in their power to find her, she’d do it. The notes were small, something that could go unnoticed by her abductor and his henchman, or anyone else he trusted to help him. And for all that he kept saying he loved and adored her, he didn’t trust her with any kind of technology. No phone, no laptop, nothing. If she was allowed anything, it was heavily encrypted, and programmed to notify him of any suspicious activity.

Picking up her bag, she put it on the bed and opened it. She dug through clothing and found the small case she’d managed to keep with her. All it contained was a few small notepads, a couple pens, and two carefully tended photographs. Both selfies, but each with different people.

The first, she was smiling and laughing with Kei and Tetsu in line for a rollercoaster at a theme park.
The second… “Oh, Eita.”

It was her favorite picture of all the ones she took that day in Osaka. It was the last selfie they’d taken together, the castle in the background from the former guest house. Eita had surprised her by wrapping an arm around her from behind, ducked just enough so that their faces were close together, and then snapped the pic with her phone. Hitoka looked surprised, but her eyes were glowing and she was smiling brilliantly. Eita was also smiling, but his expression looked… happy, content.

“Only photograph what you love,” Tetsu said quietly, and Hitoka’s gaze snapped up to him. “Isn’t that how the saying goes?”
“Yeah. One of my favorites.”
“Says the photographer.” Kei snorted and smirked at her. “Don’t deny it. You love him.”
“Well, yeah. Of course I do,” she murmured. “We’ve been together for almost two years now.”
“With our help,” he reminded her, clicking so that another picture of Eita appeared. He’d tried not to smile, and failed, causing them both to laugh. “He’s never looked so happy. Not in the time I’ve known him.”
“I can verify,” Tetsu agreed. “He’s never looked that happy.”

The doorknob rattled and the door cracked open. Luckily, her back was toward it, so she quickly hid the case while acting like she was going through her bag.

“I didn’t buy much, but I hope it’ll do until I can buy more.”
“I already told you; I’m not hungry.”
“I am…”
“So cook something.”
“I’m not the best cook.”
“No, you’re not. But surely you can fix up something you can eat.”
She swung around and glared at him, her hands clenched into fists. “Excuse me?”
“Sorry. Yachi. Even though we’ve been together long enough for first names…” that last was said under his breath.
“Excuse me?” she repeated quietly, her voice low with anger. “We’re only ‘together’ because of your… your… obsession with me. Because you stole me away…”
“Who’s fault is that?”
“Are you seriously trying to blame me? The fault is yours. All of it. You could have taken a simple ‘no’ as my final answer and left it at that, but no. You obsessed over, and stalked, me since high school!”

He said nothing as he went to the kitchenette and put the bags of food on the counter. He busied himself with putting everything away, except for some sort of tray. He opened it, and the most delicious, mouth-watering smells wafted through the room. Takoyaki, grilled corn, yakisoba… If she moved anywhere near that counter, she’d probably also find tekka maki and taiyaki, too.

“Oh my god, it’s pouring out there!” Eita said as he burst through the door to their room. “But I have triumphed! I bring back the spoils of war!”
In his arms were bags of food, collected from the festival that had just been postponed by a pop-up thunderstorm.
“Spoils of war, huh?" She giggled, bringing a towel to him. She helped take the bags from him and handed him the towel. “What did you bring us? It smells delicious!”
“A little of everything, baby. A little of everything.” He bent and kissed her cheek first, and then her mouth when she turned to face him fully. “Missed you, though.”
“Eita, the festival is right below us. You weren’t gone very long, either.”
“Still missed you.” He kissed her again and then leaned back to wink at her. “I’ll go change into dry clothes. Let’s have a picnic.”
“Okay. Love you.”
“I love you too.”

He was tempting her to eat; bringing her all the foods Eita loved.

She hated him. Oh, how she hated him. Until now, she’d never hated anyone in her entire life. But him? He had the singular honor of being the only one in the world she hated. Tears of anger, frustration, hatred, and yes, even despair, welled up and spilled over. Nausea hit her like a wrecking ball. Her hand flew to her mouth and she ran to the bathroom, only just managing to shut the door and get to the toilet before she was sick.

“Yachi? Are you okay?”
She huffed. “Obviously not.”
“What can I do?”
“Go away. Just… go away. Leave me alone.”
“Are you sure?”
“YES! JUST GO!” She fought down another wave. “Please,” she whimpered.

Hitoka didn’t know, or care, if he truly left. Falling to her knees, she leaned her heated face against the cold porcelain of the toilet. She was feeling pathetic and… and hopeless. They’d been moving from place to place for months now. They’d even left the country for a few weeks. She had no way of finding out if her friends were any closer to finding her. She missed them so much.

She missed Eita most of all.

An hour later, Hitoka cleaned herself up, and cleaned the bathroom. Walking into the living room, she found herself alone. Good. She had zero desire of breathing the same air as him. She made her way to the counter and looked at all the food. As much as she hated to admit it, he was right. She did have to eat, if for nothing more than keeping her strength up. So, even though she wasn’t hungry, even though she’d just been sick, she picked up a plate and served herself some of the maki, a couple doughy balls of takoyaki, and one taiyaki.

She went to the table and put her food down, and went to fetch her case from her bag. She put the pictures of her friends where she could see them, placed the notepads and pencils to the side, and went to get a drink. When she came back, she sat down and slowly started eating. It was as delicious as it smelled, and her empty stomach craved more. As she ate, she wrote a little note; 'Trapped. I need help. Call this number. Please!'

She added the number, and a doodle that would identify her if anyone asked. Ripping it off the pad, she crumpled it up as small as possible. She’d dispose of it later, and hope against hope someone would find it and make the call.


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Chapter name
02 Aug 2022
Last Edited
02 Aug 2022