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My Bitter Sweet Life! by Moonlight Silk

Of things forgotten and the future!

AN: This is my first alternate universe story. I have something great in mind for this fic. For persons who have not read my stories before please give it a chance.

I own no merchandise associated with Inuyasha or the series. This is strictly a work of fan fiction and a hobby of mine!

Please read and review!

It was unusually cold this time of year Kagome thought as she sat inside the cafe; it was already the middle of spring and the climate should be more temperate, but there was little difference between here and the outdoors. She shivered as the waitress walked by and would have asked her to turn the heat up, just then a dazzling ray of sunshine shimmered onto the thick glass panes, instead, she smiled and pressed her head up against it. Slowly the glow heated her whole body through so that she closed her eyes and sighed in contentment; although contented, her mind still strayed to her errant companion.

Eri was late and hadn't called to say what the reason was or when she would get here. Kagome was a bit concerned for her dearest friend which was understandable, she usually was on time and if she wouldn't be she would normally call.

Kagome blinked her eyes open as an uneasy train of thought crossed her mind. If Eri had met up with unforeseen circumstances she would have found a way to contact her somehow. Wouldn't she? And besides, she could always call her cell phone if she delayed for much further.

Feeling a bit less troubled after thinking about Eri's lateness and how best to deal with it if she didn't contact her soon, she closed her eyes again. She felt so warm, deeply relaxed that it came as no surprise that the tranquil surrounding was slowly lulling her to sleep.

While she kept her eyes closed it further perpetuated the drowsy sensations. Her head dipped; barely aware now as sleep quietly took over she heard a far away yet pleasant voice. "Miss, can I get you anything?"

Kagome opened her eyes at the sound of the voice and replied sleepily. "No, not at the moment," and immediately afterward, tactfully yawned into her hands.

The waitress nodded her acknowledgment and was about to walk away when Kagome suddenly had a change of mind. "I think a steaming cup of coffee might help to keep me alert until my friend gets her."

The waitress smiled and then responded. "Will do," before quietly leaving.

No more than a few minutes must have expired before the waitress returned with the order and placed the coffee on the table. Kagome reached for the cup and took a sip of the hot liquid; mindful in her eagerness not to spill it and burn herself. As she passed the time with sleep not far behind in spite of her regimented effort, an inward flow of the past surged upwards into her mind.

The memories of her life from the time that she was fifteen years old to her sixteenth birthday were stolen from her memory. With no recollection of how it had happened and what she had lost, life had become unbearable.

For some vague or unknown reason, her heart had felt empty, like the most important things that used to fill it up with joy no longer abide within. It was as if she existed but no longer lived. The most succulent of foods tasted bitter; friends were meaningless in the sea that drowned her in despair. Her family's love surrounded her yet she did not see them or rather could not see them clearly with eyes that had been shrouded in despair.

The world continued on like nothing had happened and yet she knew deep down that the past and this reality had merged. When she dreamt of that world not even then would the blank faces of her past reveal themselves. How frustrating, the burning ache of loss and regret, and not knowing why she felt thus confused her more and more each day.

All that was left of that day, the day she’d turned fifteen was the memory of her cat Buyo and having fallen down the well, regaining consciousness much later, the terrible headache and the indescribable frustrations of not knowing why only hazy remnants of another time and space remained.  

That day would forever be burned into the heart of her soul. She had been so frightened then, lost and alone. Tears had spilled from her eyes and had washed down her face like a river as she’d struggled to hold onto something that might not have been there in the first place. It was almost dark when her mother had found her in a heap at the bottom of the well fast asleep.

From that point onwards life became a battle. She couldn’t fathom nor could she accept how almost a year of her life had passed by and she could not remember it. Her grades had fallen short of the mark and she was left in the dust of everyone in her class. Before the chaos, she had been a good student with decent grades.

The only explanation that she was given by her grandfather was that she'd hit her head on the side of the well as she had fallen in. But why couldn’t he explain truthfully the existence of demons living amongst humans now, when before the accident she was certain that there were none.

Her mother had tried to reason with her, she had speculated that the blow to her head may have altered her perceptions; youkai had always been a part of the society, it was nothing new. She had told her to forget the foolish notion of another life. She had simply turned away from her mother without responding.

What purpose would it serve if she'd fought with her mother? No one truly understood the hell that she faced each day. Nothing anyone said at the time could appease the intense curiosity and her sixth sense that told her something was not right.

She believed that if she looked hard enough, researched long enough she would find clues that would point her in the right direction. And if her perceptions were really altered like her mother had suggested, it wasn’t caused by a blow to the head, of that she was sure.

As curiosity grew so did impatience. She was consumed and determined to find the missing pieces of her mind, to fit the puzzle back together and thus take back control of her life. She was caught up, engulfed in the heat of her convictions that she could not see how badly her actions had affected her family.

Her mother had walked around with deadly sadness in her eyes, watching helplessly while her daughter’s behavior progressed towards obsession. Her grandfather and brother did not know what to say to her now, or how to help her so they'd opted to ignore her, perhaps they'd thought that she had fallen into insanity.

Through the veil of disorientation and apathy, Kagome had heard her mother’s cries one night and went to her. After that, her perspectives had changed. How could it not when she loved her mother dearly and did not want because of her she was unhappy? Her mother’s tears and pain had opened up her eyes.

It was as though one day her life made sense and the next day it had crumbled to dust. Every foothold that she had before to steady herself had vanished. Now, none of those concerns mattered anymore, her family’s happiness took precedence over everything else. Her school work became the focal point; it was the tool that she'd used to fight the frustrations and confusion that spun round and round inside her head.

In time all the hard work paid off and she was accepted into college. Four years later she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Languages and a minor in History. Now at twenty-two, the hunt for meaningful employment was on. Half a year would pass in unemployment.

Through it all she kept up appearances, she met with Eri twice per week, the only friend that she had left who had not moved away for school, work nor for a family.

As she sat and waited for Eri's arrival at a café four blocks from where she lived, she grew increasingly worried, she was never this late before. Kagome heard the quiet footsteps of the waitress's approach and shifted her head in that direction.

“Miss, would you like to order now?” She asked politely, and then placed one of the few complimentary newspaper on the table.

Kagome opened her mouth to answer, then her cell phone rang. She looked at the waitress and smiled who lifted her hand in a small gesture of understanding and then walked away.

Kagome took a deep breath to rid of the raw edge of concern backed up in her throat and then answered the call. “Eri where are you?”

There was a bit of silence on the other end, then shuffling, Kagome grew more concerned. “Eri are you alright?”

There was no response only more shuffling and Kagome fears increased. She was almost on her feet when Eri finally answered.

“Kagome I am sorry for making you wait so long,” she said and then sighed heavily. “I am at the corner not far from you; I am so angry right now. I was making my way to you when someone grabbed my book bag, the strap broke and all my files scattered to the ground.”

Kagome listened in silence and was relieved to hear that her friend was fine, though her voice sounded breathless and strained.

I am glad that you are okay,” Kagome said on a pent up breath.

There was silence on the line again, Kagome was aware that Eri still gathered her books and files that had dispersed in the near mugging.

“I could order for the both of us. Is there anything special that you would like?” Kagome offered.

Eri sighed loudly enough for Kagome to hear. “A cup of coffee and a melon bun would do just fine…Thank you.” Eri ended the call after that, Kagome signaled to the waitress with a hand wave.

Shortly after the phone call Eri arrived, greeted Kagome with a hug and then took the seat in front of her best friend. Dessert and coffee were served, they ate and chatted for awhile.

Kagome sighed heavily, not even the pleasant time spent with her friend could dismiss the frustrations of not finding a job after half a year out of college. She really needed to find work, she couldn't keep freeloading off her mom, and at the same time, she did not want to bother Eri with her problems.

But Eri wasn’t as oblivious to Kagome’s desires as she may have thought. She had spoken to her mother, and in any case who wouldn’t be anxious not being able to secure a job six months after graduation. Suddenly a thought popped into her head. She took up the newspaper and skipped to the youkai section of it, specifically the classified ads.

Perhaps Kagome could look elsewhere for work she thought. Her friend was a likable person and had no problems getting along with others. So working with demons should be tolerable for her.

Although the thought did cross her mind that demon society pretty much kept to themselves, and not much was known about them except that they were very wealthy, owned many large organizations that employed both species. In spite of that, she believed that Kagome would be able to function properly in close proximity to them. She was the least biased or prejudice person she knew.

Eri folded the paper, took a pen from her bag and underlined a vacancy before passing it to Kagome.

Kagome read the standard job application; it asked for college pre-requisites and good character references. But then she noted the section of the paper and rests it back down on the table and stared at Eri in bewilderment.

Her friend laughed. “Kagome the job has your name written all over it. I know of no one else that is as unbiased as you are and kind. Go for it, sometimes we have to think outside the box to survive.” Eri said, and waited anxiously for a response from her pensive companion.

Kagome shook her head. “I don’t know Eri, it all sounds too good to be true, and besides, what make you think that they would want humans to fill the positions?”

Eri expected Kagome to say something like that and made no comment on the matter. Instead, she took up the glass with cold water and drank it halfway down silently.

Eventually, she responded. “Well I could be wrong, but I am almost certain that your humanity is not a clause, nowhere does the advertisement say youkai only.”

Kagome could not come up with any witty response to Eri’s comment, in fact, anything she said right now would look like a big fat excuse. So she ordered another cup of coffee, when it was delivered she took a sip of the potent bitter liquid and relaxed. As they sat there in silence, Kagome thought about what she should do. Eri was right she decided; there was nothing to hold her back but herself and her way of thought.

All she had to do was to apply and then leave everything else up to fate. Without understanding what exactly it was that compelled her, Kagome tore the page out of the paper and put it into her bag.

Eri sat back and studied Kagome for a few minutes; there was something different about her. On the surface, her demeanor was the same as it always was, pure, kind and at times a little wistful. Yet there was a subtle, inexpressible change in her just now.

She wasn’t fully convinced that it had everything to do with the job vacancy, but it was a thought and so she asked. “Kagome are you alright with this, I hope you know that I would never pressure you into doing something that you are uncomfortable with…If you are, please tell me?”

Kagome put the teacup down, gazed at Eri and then smiled. “If I am feeling anything at all it’s not pressure or apprehension. I can’t explain it rationally for you to understand, but I feel refreshed on the inside and I don’t know why.”

******

The following Monday Kagome dropped off her resume with a passport size picture of herself. Three days later she received a phone call from the company that she was shortlisted. The caller informed her that the company has requested her presence for a preliminary interview. After the call ended a pleasant surge rose up inside her body, perhaps it was joy or a sense of accomplishment on finally getting an interview.

When the good feelings waned a bit she sat on the bed and thought about the upcoming interview and if indeed she was prepared for it. It was a lucky thing that she wasn’t a big spender or else she would be in a bind right now.

The little money that she had saved over the years doing part-time jobs, she had spent wisely on clothes and shoes for work after graduation. She had four suits which were rather expensive considering her budget, but at the time she found that having them was quite irresistible and had purchased them on a whim. The designs of the pieces were simple yet elegant, the cut sublime and they suited her taste perfectly.

The other pieces were chosen with more care, she had selected five pencil skirts in basic colors; black, gray, brown and two which had subtle patterns set in burgundy and blue background. She matched them with tops that showed a little cleavage but not too much. She was conscious of her ample bosom that accentuated her medium frame without overstating that fact too much.

She was now a grown woman, and at five feet six, she was considered to be above average in height for a female of her race. She was told by many that she was a beauty with her wide ocean blue eyes, a rarity among her people and yet she felt insignificant and ordinary.

Her flawless complexion and enviable curves had made her the enemy of many young women while in college. She couldn’t figure out what the fuss was about, she had finished college and had remained a virgin, those girls had worried for nothing.

The day before the scheduled appointment, the last monies she had, she spent on a leather handbag and her hair. For some reason or the other, she could not remember clearly now why she had chosen to grow out her hair in the first place. Truthfully, she had started to do so right after the incident at the well.

The bangs were long gone, and usually she wore it up in a high ponytail or if she felt the need she would let it flow free. The hairdresser styled her hair in a left side sweep, cut and layered in waves all the way down her back. She couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

On the morning of the interview, she carefully applied makeup to her face, when she was finished a satisfied smile shown on it. She had smoothed a bit of foundation onto her face, highlighted her lids with silver blue cream eye shadow, lined her eyes dark brown and finished off the look with pink lipstick.

Wanting to be proactive, she had chosen the short sleeved beige colored suit and a pair of brown peep-toeshoes to match her hand-bag from the night before. Ten minutes before the taxi came she dressed and sat back down on the bed, being ever cautious not to wrinkle her clothes.

As she sat there she thought of the possible questions that the interviewer or interviewers might ask and how best to answer them. She was so distracted by her thoughts that when the cab came and the horn blew, she nearly jumped out of her skin. She inhaled deeply to calm down, and then took one final look at herself; feeling satisfied once more she opened the door and then left the shrine.

The drive downtown was hassle free, it was mid-morning and the traffic had cleared to her relief. Fifteen minutes later she exited the cab and paid the driver. As she stood on the outside and stared at the tall concrete building, apprehension returned to her body. Kagome swallowed the fear quickly as a dozen or more young women all in her age group rushed passed her.

An hour later she was seated in a large conference room and was surprised that they were twenty-five young women including herself there for the interview. She tried to stay calm now that she knew the vacancies were highly competitive.

By the end of the day she had conversed with a male and a female youkai, her documents taken and filed. Then she was told to go back home and wait for them to call her by Wednesday; if she did not receive a call back by then it meant that she was unsuccessful.

She was a bit put off by the impersonal way that the company handled their affairs, however, she had no choice but to comply. There was still a chance that she could be selected, she felt certain.

At precisely four fifteen Tuesday evening, her phone rang and her heart missed a beat or two before she picked up the device.

“Hello, is this Miss Higurashi." The very professional voice of a male inquired.

"Yes, it is," Kagome answered short of breath.

Through the anxiety, Kagome could swear that she had heard him chuckle softly before his voice filled her ear again.

"Tanaka Industries is prepared to offer you the opportunity to compete for four positions among a group of ten. Can you take up the offer at this time?”

Kagome stiffened, she was shortlisted but the journey was far from being over, she sighed quietly with the phone away from her mouth. She could not afford for the other party to hear that for obvious reasons.

“Miss Higurashi are you still on the line,” the male secretary asked after some time had passed. Kagome quickly answered. “I have no other commitments at this time so yes I can accept the offer.”

“Good,” he responded, “the meeting will be at head office at one pm on Thursday.” 

Just as quickly as the call had begun so it ended. Kagome carefully fitted her bottom onto the bed out of fear that her knees might buckle from overwhelming emotions.  

 

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