Chapter 1:

The Taste of Wine

Did My Heart Love Till Now?

Here I was completely wasted in the apartment of the man I loathed for years. Hours ago we were arguing about financial prospects and now my head was resting against his shoulder. Take's hand gently brushed my thigh. Even in my drunken state, I was aware of his presence. Bookmark here

"You're an amazing woman, Suzume."Bookmark here

I could feel his breath on my neck as he spoke. He leaned closer to me. Bookmark here

"That's just the alcohol talking to you."Bookmark here

I mumbled, slowly pushing away from him. The sudden change of the atmosphere was making me slightly uncomfortable. There was something strangely comforting about having him beside me. He laid his head on my lap. I found my fingers unconsciously running through his short black hair. Bookmark here

"I truly mean what I said. You are the most fascinating and hardworking woman I've ever met in my life. You deserve to be with someone that makes you happy."Bookmark here

 The sincerity in his voice caught me off guard. I found myself lost in his soft gaze. Without realizing it, my body was gravitating towards him. My lips fell into his without any thought. Something was different about this kiss. Something that separated it from any other I had experienced. It wasn't the lingering scent of wine or the music disappearing in the background. As his lips lifted for a moment, I felt my heart racing. I could feel it beating faster while his hands brushed my hair away from my face, revealing a bright red blush.Bookmark here

"Can I be happy with you?" I asked, lustrously. Bookmark here

He smiled at me before leaning in for another kiss. Did I really have the right to be happy? I thought to myself. His body weight was suddenly pushing me into the pillows behind me. The sweet taste of wine left on his lips had me feeling wasted all over again. Every kiss after that drifted into the night like a sweet dream. A dream that I wished I could stay in forever. His hands tangled in mine for all entirety. Bookmark here

I woke up to the faint smell of Take's cologne. My eyes lifted to the sight of a large black jacketwrapped around me. I raised it closer to my face ,covering my smile. Flashbacks of last nights fantasies rushed through my head. Shifting myself up off the couch, I noticed a piece of paper on the living room table.Bookmark here

"What is this?"Bookmark here

I was confused by the current situation. He couldn't seriously still be planning on having me sign my restaurant over to him. This had to be a mistake. Bookmark here

I sat there blankly staring at the piece of paper in front of me. Where had my sense of pride gone? I couldn't believe I had fallen for his charms. Watching him smirk from across the table, my stomach cringed. Bookmark here

"Don't look at me like that, Sue. You know I have your best interest in mind."Bookmark here

He was lying under his breath. For months, Take has been after my father's restaurant. He thinks I was just going to give it away because we spent one night together. Before I knew it, the ink pen that was in my hand had landed in his lap. Bookmark here

"I'm nothing more than competition to you. I can't believe I thought you had changed, but it was all for show." Bookmark here

I laughed at how pathetic I had become. I stood up to head out the door. Quickly I gathered my clothes off the floor. I was levied. Bookmark here

"I can't believe you, Take!" I shouted angrily. Bookmark here

"Face it, Suzume! You're running out of money and time."Bookmark here

He chased behind me to the door. Bookmark here

"Isn't it better to sell your restaurant to me than losing to the bank?"Bookmark here

He pleaded desperately, waving the unsigned contract in front of me. His persistence continued.Bookmark here

"Your father wouldn't want to see his—"Bookmark here

I snapped in the middle of his sentence. Bookmark here

"Don't you EVER talk about my father. You know nothing about him. If you think I'm just going to hand over the restaurant, you're mistaken. I'd rather watch it burn to the ground than giving it to you!" Bookmark here

My shouting echoed in the parking lot outside the apartment. I watched as the papers Take was once holding rained from the sky. We stood there face to face in silence. I walked away that day wondering if what I felt the night before was truly too good to be real.Bookmark here

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