Arc V: The Killing Moon

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ARC V PART II: The Killing Moon

Lills followed Aoto down across the street towards the stakeout car Mieko had "borrowed." The sun had long since disappeared, and the humid summer rain made the road slick. Aoto opened the door for her, and Lills slid across the bench seat so that he too could escape the rain.

"Is the communicator alright?" Aoto asked. Lills pulled it from her coat, wiping a few stray drops off of it. "It's fine," she said as she scrolled for new messages. "Rubén said that he's in position in the hotel lobby, and Darcy, Shoma, and Mieko are gone."

"Good," Aoto said. He gazed out of the window towards the hotel. "My father should be here any moment."

Rain continued to beat against the car's metal roof, creating a pattering sound every bit as calm and comforting as his expression. For an instant, Lills was taken back to that conversation in Cameroon, back when she knew nothing of inner workings of the Aihara family and all the drama and danger that came with them.

With a teasing grin, he turned to her. "You know that you don't have to sit so close. If you want to see outside, you could easily watch from the rear window," he said. Lills looked to the side at the space next to her. She hadn't even realized that she was so close.

"Most men would be thrilled to be in your position," she replied, raising an eyebrow. Still, she moved back slightly.

"Oh, I wasn't complaining," he said, smiling to himself as he turned back to watch the street. "Just making an observation."

Lills studied his profile, illuminated by a streetlight outside. He'd lost weight while recovering from his stab wound, and it showed in his face more than anything. Realizing that he was being watched, Aoto glanced at her and smiled cheekily. "Lillian Holbright, are you staring at me?" he remarked. The playfulness began to fade away when he saw the solemn, sincere expression on her face. Lills' gaze fell to his lips, her own twitching slightly in anticipation.

Now was hardly the right time, yet Lills knew that if she didn't act now, she might never act. She reached out and brushed her fingers against his face. Aoto leaned into her hand but dared not do anything more lest he spook her. Cautiously, Lills brought her lips to his, kissing him as softly as possible. Still, the faint touch sent electricity coursing through her veins.

Lills pulled back just far enough that she could see his reaction. She was not sure who moved next, but suddenly his lips were on hers again. His thumb gently stroked her cheek as he kissed her slowly, pouring everything he dared not say aloud into the kiss. When their lips unfortunately parted once again, Aoto kissed her jaw before resting his head against her neck. He sighed happily, and the warmth of his breath sent another wave of electricity. She held onto him even tighter than she had before. A large part of her never wanted to let go.

But Aoto was right- Hiroshi would be here any second, and Veer was awaiting their signal. Slowly, she pulled her arms away, and Aoto moved back to his original spot, though his gaze never left her. "I hope that you'll reconsider that dinner offer now," he remarked.

Lills rolled her eyes and smirked. "What if instead of a posh dinner, we eat fish and chips on the pavement then go to a museum?" she suggested, though she was still shaking from the adrenaline.

"Perfect," Aoto replied, his smile dimpling his cheeks. He gave her a quick kiss on the forehead before straightening his suit and returning his attention back to the hazy street outside. Lills wished that she could do the same. But she noticed that Aoto kept his hand fixed over his mouth to hide a boyish, almost giddy smile. The sight of it filled Lills' chest with a bubbly sensation, like a bottle of champagne that someone had just shaken up.

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