“Ken! Ken!” shouting in the room, Ellie addressed Ken who was sitting on the bed.
“Ken! you need to talk. So listen to me and replay Ken. It has been days and everyone is worried about you.” She leaned forward and try to remove Ken’s hand off his ears.
“No! stay away!” as he shrugged away Ellie’s hand.
“Ken! I am not leaving until you speak to me ” as she again tried to get hold of Ken’s hands.
“Just go away Ellie. I am not interested in talking to you or to anyone else.” Ken shouted as he pushed away Ellie and she fell from the chair and her head hit the window edge.
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“Ellie! Ellie! Are you okay?” getting up from his bed as he quickly gets to Ellie to pick her up from the floor.
“I’m sorry Ellie. I am so sorry. Please forgive me” Ken said as he kissed Ellie’s hand while she lay down on the floor in Ken’s arms.
“It’s alright, Ken. I’m not hurt.” As Ken pulled her up on her feet.
“No! Ellie. I know I have been an idiot all this time. So forgive me and try to forget everything that happened. ”
“No! I won’t forget. I’ll make sure that I do as much rudeness to you as you did to me and to others.” Touching her forehead with her fingers as she noticed blood coming out from her side.
“Don’t do this to me, Ellie. Please” Ken asked for forgiveness as he took Ellie to the other side of the room where a medical kit was kept.
Taking out the antiseptic on a cotton piece, Ken began to brush Ellie’s wound. “Ouch! It stinks Ken!”
“Don’t act like a child Ellie. It will be fine. Just hold onto it for sometime”.
“So! How are you, Ellie? It has been a very long time since we talked to each other.”
“I’m fine Ken. How are you? You have been acting so strange lately. Why? you know I was so worried about you. I thought you will not wake up ever. And when you finally did, you just isolate yourself from the surroundings and pushed everyone aside.” Tears rolled down her eyes as she wiped her face with the sleeve of his long purple sweater.
“Don’t cry Ellie. I know that I’ve been a jerk these few days but I’ll make sure to make it up to you. So please don’t cry. Tears don’t suit you at all.”
“Neither does this strange behavior to you Ken. I won’t ask what happened with you but please don’t do this again Ken. I can’t bear to see you like this. My heart pains to see you in misery.”
“Why so Ellie, why do you care about me so much?”
“<with a smile on her face> isn’t it obvious Ken. I care because I love you”.
“Love me?” puzzled by her expressions, Ken looked at her with amazement as Ellie kept her fingers on Ken’s face and slid them past her nose to his mouth.
Silence broke into the room as Ellie and Ken looked at each other. Ellie had a slight gaze in her eyes while Ken was more of confused about the situation.
Understanding that Ken had forgotten everything that happened in the competition, Ellie moved her hands from Ken’s lips to his face and holding them, she said
“You might be good in any field but trust me, you are an idiot when it come to emotions”.
“Lover you say? <with a slight pause>. Oh! Shit!. Now I remembered the thing that happened in the opening ceremony. I’m so, so sorry!.”
“Its all right Ken. As it is, I was not going to let you go so easily.” Both of them burst into laughter as Ellie prompted “I guess it’s the first time, I saw you laughing with your heart out.”
Ellie inched closer to Ken and as she was about to embrace him, Ak broke into the room.
“Oh! Shit. Sorry guys. I didn’t mean to disturb you guys” Ken and Ellie moved away quickly.
“It’s not like that Ak” Ellie went to the other side of the room to apply a bandage on her head.
“Come Ak, sit down. It has been a long time”
“Indeed Ken. it has been a really long time. How are you? ”
“I’m fine and I’m really very sorry about how I reacted earlier. I was kind of lost but I’m fine now.”
“No, issues Ken. I’m not angry or anything. And if you have any problem, please come and share it with us.”
“Yes, sure Ak”
“Let’s get out of here and read some hot and spicy comics. I have that latest Deadpool edition in store. The lady in there is quite hot”<speaking softly considering Ellie to be in the room >.
Both Ken and Ak burst out in laughter as Ayako and Marvin came to the room and greeted Ken with a smile.
Days passed by as Ken reverted back to his original health and physic and was soon discharged from the hospital. Meanwhile, the media came to know about this nearly every day they came to seek Ken for an interview.
Ken was living in the same house as he was before the start of the tournament. Working in the pizza store, reading comics, meeting with acquaintances and again repeating the same chores during the day. Ken’s life reverted back to normalcy but the only change that came to his life was the introduction of someone special, his girlfriend Ellie. Ever since his recovery, both Ken and Ellie were dating each other, although they haven’t been on many dates as Ken felt that it’s the same thing whether they meet in the store or any other place.
But it was Ellie who convinced him to spend time with her alone and so they decided to go out every Wednesday.
And it was one of such days when Ken was about to leave his house when suddenly, a mail dropped in the box. Locking the front door Ken picked up the mail but only to see that the mail was from the VALDRO corp and it was titled to Ken himself.
Opening up the letter, Ken started reading the letter and with amazement, he slid the letter past his door and went on his way to meet Ellie at an amusement park.
“You are late, as usual!”Ellie exclaimed as she folded his arms and looked at Ken with childish anger on her face.
“Extremely sorry, miss girlfriend.” holding his ears as he stared at her. Ellie noticed that and holding her straw hat with her hand, she whispered “How am I looking Ken?”
Ken didn’t realize that Ellie had asked him a question for a second but soon it came to his mind that he should complement Ellie and hence he replied “You look like a princess”.
And Ken’s remark was indeed spot on as in her lemon yellow frock with matching heels and a beautiful straw hat, she looked none less than a princess.
“Enough of talking about me Ken, let’s move ahead.” Holding his arm, Ellie and Ken both moved on to enjoy their day. Rollercoasters, scary houses, grape scrapes and lots of delicious food. This was how their day went as nearly the end of the noon, both of them were extremely tired and they choose a wooden bench to spend some time quietly.
“That scary house was so scary Ken. I literally had my heart in my mouth at that time.”
“I didn’t feel that it was scary at all. Although that childish merry go round was too much to handle”.
“………….” Complaining, Ellie looked at Ken as if she will kill Ken for calling the ride childish.
“You might complain but I’m happy that you are spending time with me like a normal man. Or else you were the no less like an angry old man.”
“Ya! You might be right. I was no less than an idiot in those days.”
“Trust me Ken, you are still an idiot.” Both of them burst out in laughter as Ken replied, “Ellie a letter came to me this morning from the VALDRO corp”.
“From VALDRO? why” black clouds covered the blue sky as Ken continued,
“Well they have been sending me emails regarding the prize money and stuff but this time a letter came. The letter was about a rematch between me and Satoshi and they have asked me whether I agree to it or not.”
Ken took a deep sigh as he looked down towards the ground. “Do you want to go, Ken?”
“Well! To be honest I’m not sure myself whether I’ll be able to defeat that man or not. ”
“Why not Ken? you fought bravely last time and don’t understand why can’t to defeat him.”
“Well! To be honest, during the fight last time I left all hope when Harry and Amber betrayed me. But somehow, I got to meet my father and he motivated me to fight out there. But as always I’m a failure and as usual, I let everyone down.”
“Why do you think that Ken, you are our pride. So don’t let our pride down by making such silly remarks. ”
“Pride! Huh! I’m a stupid clown who gets all worked up over a stupid chain, had I be a little brave to face my fear, I would have a clear-cut winner of the contest.”
“Everyone has its own fears and stories. And this is yours. It’s just rather than isolating yourself from the fear, you should try to face it and try to overcome it. Being brave isn’t the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it.”
“Remember Ellie, one day you asked me why I’m afraid of chains so much and I said that I don’t have the answer to it…
I lied that time. Something happened to me in past and it had left a scar on my present.”
Keeping a hand on Ken’s shoulder, Ellie replied “I didn’t push you to tell me that time and I won’t ask to tell me this time also. If you want o to tell then I’ll be more than happy to hear”.
“When I was three, my father passed away. I, my mother and my father were a happy family but the death of my father left my mother devastated. She went into depression and nearly cut herself off from the world for months. But then, one day my mother started dating my father’s friend. Dates followed marriage and my mother married Mr. Joichiro when I was just four. Nearly three months of their marriage, the had a son whom they named Satoshi.
Satoshi, my stepbrother was the only son of Joichiro industries and naturally, he was taken care more than me. He had everything in his life. Good food, well-classed eduction and most importantly, parents love. Sometimes I envyed him a lot but I realized that he was my little brother and I should also help my mother to take care of him.”
“But who knew that my mother had other ideas. As Satoshi grew up, my mother kept isolating me from him. I was given a separate room on the attic of the large mansion and there were days when my mother didn’t even come to visit me. I was kept away from education and the only thing I did was to read through my old books that were way beyond readable.”
“But still, I wasn’t sad or I blamed my mother for everything. I was happy that at least my mother wasn’t depressed like before and she had someone to fill the void in her life. Days went by, followed by years. My mother and my interaction kept of decreasing and so was existence to them. There were times when the maids of the house gave me their own food as it has been days since I ate anything. ”
“But what’s worse was that Mr. Joichiro, we weren’t even completely aware of me, suddenly started to take care of me. At first I thought that things have changed but later I came to know that he was going to use me as an escape goat for all his frustration and all the losses that occurred to him in his business. I don’t know whether my mother was aware of it or not but there were times when he used to beat me up until marks were formed on my skin. But still I never lost hope and I thought that I just need to reach my other and tell her that father has been beating me and she needs to give a strict ear to father.”
“But when I was ten, my this hope also came to an end. My six-year-old brother Satoshi once accused me of stealing his toys and books and because of that, my mother locked me up with our dog Strange. Well, strange was a German-Sherped by breed and oh! Boy, he was one heck of a dog. He barked at me for hours as I sat in the fatherest corner of the small room, waiting for my mother to come and save me from this hell.”
“But I was wrong. My mother didn’t come to rescue me for hours that day. Only after the sun went down, that the man-servent came to take the dog for the walk and at that my mother saw me and ordered me to go back to my room. From that day onwards, I made sure that I stay away from Satoshi as I had no strength to take such punishment again.”
“But Satoshi had some other ideas. I don’t know why but he kept accusing me things which I didn’t even heard of or saw and time and again, I kept being locked in the room where that chained dog was kept. Eventually, my spirits broke one day and I begged my mother to don’t give me such punishments but with very cold eyes and voice she said that I should be happy that my punishment was limited to this only.”
“And that was it for me. At that very moment, I decided to cast away all emotions from me and become a person with no expressions and no care towards anything. But unfortunately, I can’t keep up my determination infront of that dog. That metal chain, the smell of his saliva and his poop. Everything took me by storm and I literally used to cry for hours.”
“Eventually, the dog accustomed to me and finally he stopped giving me a bark. The rudeness of others, the beating of Mr.Joichiro and most importantly the cold eyes of my own mother who watched me helpless infront of that cut-throat dog really took a toll on me and when I reached my limits one day, during my birthday, I decided to run from that hell and I ended up meeting miss Ayako and that’s how I stand here today.”
Tears rolled down Ken’s eyes as heaven’s start pouring. With a sloppy and even more sloppy voice he continued “You now Ellie when I met Satoshi at the competition I felt like all those memories had once again come to life. Those torcher’s, the barking of the dog and the long lone helpless nights, they all started to flash before my eyes.
Since then and even now, there is just a strange feeling in my chest. It’s like my heart is telling me to go face my weaknesses but my mind is telling me to stay away from that place and especially any memory which brings back my past.”
Tears rolled down his face as he and Ellie were drenched wet in the rain. Ken was so emotional that he couldn’t continue further although he had things to say, things to confess before the one whom he trusted to tell his past.
“Ken! <holding his face and bringing her’s close to his> if your past haunts you, then its perfectly fine. You don’t need to hold it within yourself. If I would have gone through this much I must have done something to myself. But look at yourself, you are still brave and strong and like a fighter, you are trying to face the thing which you want to avoid. So if you fail once or twice, then try again and again until you succeed.
Life is a mixture of ups and downs. Those who are able to withstand those down’s are the ones to rule their life on their own terms. So if you want to face Satoshi or anyone in that game one more time, then go ahead and if you don’t then too its fine. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose what’s important is for you to leave your past behind and start a new life with who love and with whom you want to spend your time.
And always remember that even if you lose that second tie or whatever, I’ll always be your side, sitting like this and listening to your pains cause you are the reason I’m alive and I won’t mind spending your gift to me with the one I love.”
Ken looked into Ellie’s eyes as she finished. The look in her eyes had something magical in it. Ken’s heart skipped a beat for the first time in his life and he knew that Ellie is the one for him.
Ellie dropped her hands of Ken’s face and started to look at the sky as her yellow dress became a pool of water. Ken wiped off his tears and without any warning he leaned towards Ellie threw her straw hat on the ground and without a second thought kissed her with both his hands on her face.
Ellie didn’t saw that coming and she never expected Ken to so such a thing. Her eyes widened with surprise and as Ken stopped she said, “Hey! Hey! That’s cheating.”.
“Shut up!”. Stopping her in between, Ken continued to embrace her. Ellie scratched her dress with her soft fingers at first but eventually, she gave into Ken’s feelings and wrapped Ken with her arms around him.
“…………” sounds of intense kissing dissipated in heavy rain as both of them kissed each in the near-empty park as rain drove away most of the people and only a few witnessed this display of acute love and affection.
Later that evening, Ellie took Ken to her house. Both drenched with water landed into Ellie’s house. “Ken! I think you should dry yourself or else you’ll get sick. Meanwhile, I’ll also go and change.”
“Ok! fine. But can you get me a towel?”
Giving Ken a towel, Ellie went to change her clothes while Ken removed his t-shirt and waited for his clothes to dry as he stood bare-chested, staring outside the window with only a towel wrapped around his waist.
Ellie, unaware of it walked into the living room only to find Ken standing bare-chested. As Ken’s back faced Ellie, Ellie saw the scars about which Ken had talked about. Long, uneven lines running on the white muscular body. Very quietly, Ellie moved towards Ken and sticking her front to his back, she started to roll down her fingers along the long, dark marks.
“You are quite a handsome man, Ken” taking her by surprise, Ken tried to turn towards Ellie but Ellie held his waist with her hands and didn’t allow him to turn.
Ken could clearly feel the warmth of Ellie’s breasts on his back as he said, “Ellie don’t you think you should……..”
<Interrupting him>“Move back?. No, I think I am fine with whatever I’m doing. I love you Ken and I don’t mind it with you”
Ellie released Ken’s waist as Ken turned back to find her wearing a beautiful light colored shoulder t-shirt with her hair over her shoulders.
“How do you manage to look beautiful everytime”
<moving her hands on Ken’s shoulder as she leaned onto Ken > “Same as you look handsome every time.”
Getting on her toes, she raised to Ken’s level and kissed him while holding his head as Ken put his hands around her curvy and slim waist.
Kissing intensely, Ken moved apart and without any effort, lifted Ellie in her arms. Then looking into her eyes the whole time, he moved across the living room towards her bedroom as Ellie held onto Ken’s neck with her hands and looked at Ken’s muscular body.
Throwing her onto the white, tidy bedsheet Ken moved over Ellie as she removed her t-shirt and exposed her upper body to Ken with only her inner wear covering her body.
“Is it okay Ellie?”
“Yes! It’s perfectly fine Ken.”
With Ellie’s consent, Ken waited for nothing and instantly he began to embrace her body with his lips all-around as Ellie removed Ken’s towel and exposed his bare down to her’s.
Ken slowly removed her shots, followed by her upper innerwear as Ellie kept kissing Ken. Things and emotions escalated as they made love and Ken spend the whole night at Ellie’s.
[Next morning, with birds chirping and sunshine bursting into the room] “Goodmorning! Ken ” Ellie said as she held the bedsheet along her bosom while stretching her other arm in the air to shrug off the morning blues.
“Good morning Ellie!” Ken turned around as he had the towel around his waist and sat on the bed with his legs dangling in the air.
Kissing her, he continued “Ellie, I’ve decided to take part in the competition. I’ll face Satoshi, once again and this time I’ll make sure to bury my past for once and all”
“Go ahead, Ken. Do what you feel is right and I’ll always stand by you, forever ”.
“Wait! wait! is that?”
Keeping her finger on his lips, “Will you marry me Ken Koshi?”
Ken had no idea that Ellie will ask her out for marriage. Ken looked at her with a blush on his face as he looked down on the white, crumbled bedsheet and sat in silence.
Ellie laughed her heart out as for the first time she saw Ken on the backfoot, blushing like this.
“It’s okay! Ken. I’ll be waiting for your reply on this very bed. So take your time ……and dare you deny me!”
Ken laughed his heart out as he kissed Ellie once again and left her house.
Humming a song, Ken reached his own flat and checking his mailbox he climbed the flair of stairs to find a familiar or rather unfamiliar face standing on his door.