Artifice and Duplicity

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Ichi
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Re: Artifice and Duplicity

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"If you ever need to talk, I'm here, alright..?"

"Thanks. I appreciate that." Húxiān smiled as she reached out to gently stroke Hiro's arm. She could feel that most of the tension in Hiro's muscles was gone. Húxiān could tell that Hiro's guard was down as his words came out smoothly, without stammering or pausing.

"Hiro-kun, close your eyes and lean forwards," whispered Húxiān with her head slightly angled away from the flower ornament on the ledge at the other side of the room. "And please---" Húxiān gently stroked Hiro's arm. "---trust me."

After saying those words, Húxiān turned her head to face Hiro directly once more. If Hiro complied, his lips would run right into Húxiān's!


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Re: Artifice and Duplicity

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"Ahh..." Hiro let out a contented sigh, feeling the soft caress of Kimie's hand gliding across his arm. Her very presence seemed to relax him - as though there was something about her that brought him relief he'd never quite had before. Even if he had his reservations...it felt good. He was sure that he could trust this girl. After all, she had wanted nothing more than the best for him; why should he ever doubt that?

Perhaps, in any other situation, Hiro might have felt anxious about a request like this. He didn't know what this girl wanted, or what she was going to do. Yet, this time, he had let his guard down. Everything about her seemed so sweet and genuine, and he felt good around her. Without really thinking it over, he leaned forward...

...leaving him to plant his lips right against hers.

As soon as he felt her lips beneath his, Hiro's eyes snapped open. His heart felt like it had stopped. Hiro had trusted this girl, but if there was one thing he couldn't anticipate happening, it was this. One way or another, he was still a taken man, and the last thing he wanted was to end up kissing anyone else. Perhaps not even for his sake, or Kirie's sake, so much as for this girl - who, for all he knew, he had just put in the crosshairs!

At once, Hiro's body locked up. The hairs on his arms and the back of his neck stood on end. With a yelp, he jumped back from Kimie, jerking his chair away from her in the process. His face was red, his eyes wide, and his hands held up in front of him. "G-Gaah..! I'm sorry-! I didn't...realize you would do that!"

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Re: Artifice and Duplicity

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"Alright, I think I have a pretty good handle on the situation," said Húxiān in her regular voice. Húxiān would remain silent for several moments to let her words begin to sink in. "I am actually a psychologist working with LAW. To put it bluntly, we are concerned about your relationship with Kirie."

Húxiān would pause yet again to observe Hiro's reaction. "I apologize for the unorthodox methods I used. People in your situation are oftentimes not the most forthcoming when asked about their relationship.

Then, a warm but slight smile would show across Húxiān's face. "Now that the formalities are out of the way," Húxiān would say, her hand reaching out to gently touch Hiro's upper arm, "we're genuinely concerned about you. I'm genuinely concerned about you." Húxiān would look directly into Hiro's eyes as she said that, her hand gently stroking Hiro's arm.

"Don't worry, I'm not here to say that your relationship is bad. It's obvious that you really love Kirie. But I think sometimes, you have a rough time." Húxiān would look down for a moment and sigh. "I was actually in a similar position to you. The stuff I told you about my father---all of it was true. So I get what it feels like." Húxiān would look back up at Hiro. "Which is why I specifically requested your case."

Húxiān would hold eye contact for several seconds. Her hand would slowly trail down Hiro's upper arm before leaving. "I'm going to get dressed right now. But if you have any questions, please feel free to ask." Húxiān would get up, head to her discarded dress, and begin putting it back on. As she did so, her movements would be markedly more modest than before.


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Re: Artifice and Duplicity

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With Kimie taking a pause, Hiro suddenly fell silent. He blinked, staring ahead at the girl, and this time with confusion rather than lust in his eyes. A...psychologist? Had this all been an act? Here, he had actually come to like this girl, against his better judgment, and...she'd been lying to him? He sighed, looking down as his shoulders slumped and his chest deflated. "Oh..."

But, despite it all - despite the fact that Hiro didn't know how much of what he'd heard was true and what wasn't - he could still be sure of one thing, and it was that, at least, this girl's concern was real. She could see that these things weighed heavily on his mind, and she wanted to do whatever part she could to help. Hiro wasn't sure how he felt about his situation being so well-known, but at least there were people willing to lend a hand.

Hiro looked back at her with a smile, nodding his head. "...Thank you," he said. "Really. It's really nice of you...and yeah, you're right. I do love her, it's just...hard. Thanks for...not judging me, I guess..."

He looked up, following the path of Kimie's hand as he met eyes with her, and for a little while he lingered on her face, smiling. He knew it was wrong...but the feeling of her skin on his felt oddly comforting. Now, though, as she got up and dressed herself, Hiro rose from his seat.

"Wait-!" he said. "If you're going to help me, uh...what now? Will I be seeing you again?"

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Re: Artifice and Duplicity

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"Don't worry, I wasn't getting up to leave," said Húxiān with an amused smile on her face. She began putting her bra and dress back on. "Just trying to make you feel less awkward---you were getting quite flustered a while back."

Húxiān laughed and then sat back down in her seat. "If you have the time now, I'd love to talk to you." Húxiān flashed Hiro a warm smile. "No pressure though."


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Re: Artifice and Duplicity

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"Ah, uh, I...I see." Hiro nodded to Kimie, but he still blushed hard, glancing off in the distance. Even when she had clothes on, the thought of making eye contact with her was still one that seemed...wrong, for some reason he couldn't quite place. As though there was an intimacy in it that wouldn't be appropriate for them - yet, at the same time, he couldn't explain why he felt that, when they had been far more intimate already than Hiro could ever have anticipated.

He took a pause before he continued, his face still red as he admitted his own struggles with his urges. "Well...yeah, yeah. It really does help, thanks..." At the same time, he took in a gulp, was he really that obvious?

Still, he sat back down. She was here to help, and if anyone was going to help him, it was a professional. "Yeah, I guess I can...talk about a few things..."

He lowered his head with a sigh. This was going to be a long one.

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Re: Artifice and Duplicity

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Hiro spilled his guts out for several hours, revealing personal details about his life and relationship with Kirie. At first, Hiro was little hesitant to share details. However, once he got comfortable, the floodgates opened. Everything that Hiro had been holding in came spilling out, giving Húxiān a clear look into both Hiro and Kirie. All the while, Húxiān made sure to keep up her kind, empathetic facade.

But inside, Húxiān was anything but kind and empathatic. In reality, Húxiān was the type of woman who would laugh if she happened upon a dog who had been crushed beneath a crate, trapped in place as its life slowly faded away. In a sense, Hiro's situation was similar to that: he was in a toxic relationship that perniciously drained the life out of him. The only difference between Hiro and the dog? Hiro could choose to leave.

That made Hiro's situation all the more pathetic in Húxiān's mind. In fact, his situation was laughable to her. The only thing that prevented Húxiān from laughing at Hiro to his face was the fact that Húxiān had greater aspirations. And by putting on a facade and listening, Húxiān greatly furthered those aspirations.

"Well, I'll be seeing you! Remember, you can call me any time at XXX-XXX-XXXX!" said Húxiān as she exited the dressing room with Hiro still inside. Húxiān had since retrieved her notepad and flower ornament. She was fully-clothed, but her clothes were disheveled. Húxiān began walking down the hallway, but as she did, she immediately spotted someone.

It was Kirie.

Upon seeing Kirie, Húxiān's lips curled into a devious grin and her eyes became snake-like. Húxiān would casually walk past Kirie, but as Huxian did so, she would whisper "My name is Húxiān Li. I'm a LAW wrestler." Afterwards, Húxiān would continue walking until she was out of sight.


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Re: Artifice and Duplicity

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Where was he!? It seemed like it had been forever since Kirie had last seen Hiro. Granted, to her, it felt like that when she was away for Hiro for more than fifteen minutes, but this was different. She'd seen him come into the building with her, but now, even after she'd packed all her things and gotten her makeup done, there was still no sign of him to be seen. It'd been hours by now, and they had a match coming up! Kirie was growing frustrated. She needed answers. And it was about time she was going to get them.

In a huff, the pink-haired girl turned toward the hallway she and Hiro had last been in, storming that way in a huff. Her fists were clenched at her sides, and each step she took struck the ground with force. She had found herself lost in such a narrow-minded focus on catching up to her boyfriend that Kirie didn't even notice the people she passed by, let alone the woman she passed a moment ago who seemed to be coming from the same direction Hiro had been last - that was, until she heard her speak up.

"Huh?" Kirie turned on her heel, looking back at where she'd heard the voice behind her. But when she did, the woman who had just passed her by was now far into the distance, too far for her to possibly hear what Kirie had to say. She had no idea who this Huxian was, or what she could have wanted with her, but she shrugged and kept on her way. This didn't matter, surely. She still needed to find her boyfriend.
At last, Kirie reached the door - but when she opened it, she froze at what found inside. There was Hiro, disheveled, wide-eyed, and looking up at her with a blush. He stoppd and stammered for a few moments before he cleared his throat, finding the words to speak. "Kirie-! I, uh...I can explain-"

But for Kirie, the world seemed to stand still. Suddenly, everything made sense. Why he'd been gone for so long, where this Huxian woman was coming from, and why he looked in disarray the way he did. Somewhere, someone...had tried to mess with her boyfriend. She thought she could slip by just under her nose, and get away with it! Just thinking about it, Kirie could feel her fist tightening at her side, and her teeth clenched tightly together. This was an insult that couldn't go unavenged.

"...Kirie?" Hiro looked up at his girlfriend, who was now staring out into the distance with a cold, stony look on her face. He began to rise from his seat, but Kirie held her hand out, beckoning him to sit back down.

"No, it's...okay, Hiro-kun. Don't worry about it...I'm just glad you're okay. But don't worry, I'll make sure everything's alright...~"

Kirie did know one thing. This wouldn't be the last she saw of Huxian...and she would make sure the bitch was going to pay.

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