**Author’s Note: And you’ve found the next chapter!  Yes, so I posted the prologue and Chapter 1 at the same time, but they are both so short I wanted to give you a bigger bite.  I hope you all like where I’m going with this, please let me know!

Disclaimer: I do not own Fruits Basket or any of its characters.

Chapter 1

“I’m walkin’ a wire, feels like a thousand ways I could fall”—Three Doors Down.

Kyo was amazed to not be in the red-headed minority.  He marveled at all of the redheads he passed as he and Yuki trudged to baggage claim.  No one cast more than a glance at his red hair, though a few women did cast lingering looks on his face that trailed to his hips.  He flushed and ducked his head.

“I think those girls are checking you out,” Yuki said, his tone amused.

“They’re probably checking you out,” Kyo grumbled.  He glanced up at sign with a glowing picture of a suitcase and an arrow pointing toward the escalator.  “We need to go that way.”

“No, they’re not looking at me at all,” Yuki said.  “They’re looking at your butt now.  Did you choose those jeans on purpose?”

“What’s the matter with my jeans?” Kyo snapped.  He brushed at the dried grass stains on his knees.

Yuki snickered.  “Maybe they’re a little form-fitting.”
“Tohru loved these jeans,” Kyo said.

“There’s probably a reason why she loved those jeans,” Yuki said and Kyo shot a look back at his grinning cousin.  He looked like a rat that got the cheese.  “Maybe you should wave at them.”

Kyo stumbled.  Yuki caught his elbow.  “Are you okay?” Yuki asked.

Wave at them?  Why would he do that?  “Why would you say that?” Kyo was too stunned to be angry.  He glanced at the women sitting in leather waiting chairs by Gate C.  They sipped soda through straws and wiggled their fingers at Kyo.  He walked faster, head down, and reached the escalator in three large steps.

“Kyo!  I was just joking.  I’m sorry!”  He heard pounding footsteps and the clunk of shoes stepping onto the moving metal stairway behind him.

Kyo didn’t look back at Yuki, staring straight forward as the circular merry-go-rounds of baggage claim came into view.  He stepped onto the tiled floor and followed the signs above each baggage station to the one marked with his flight and gate number.  Suitcases revolved slowly, more coming through a small black curtain every few minutes.  Kyo kept his eyes on the curtain, waiting for his bag.  He turned Tohru’s cell phone back on; then slipped it into his side pocket.  He carried her phone now instead of his own, so that he could hear her voice on the voicemail message.  No calls missed.  He would have to call his grandmother to let her know that his flight had landed.  The plane was on time, and she knew his travel itinerary, so hopefully she was already there or almost there.

“Kyo!”

Kyo shut his eyes as he felt Yuki close in on him.  “I won’t do that again, all right?”

Kyo shrugged.  “It’s fine.”  It wasn’t.  His stomach twisted as he thought about the women watching him.  Women watched him a lot, and he ignored them.  Tohru always squeezed his hand and giggled in his ear that she was so lucky to be with the guy all the girls wanted.  She was exaggerating, but it had made him feel good, like Tohru was proud to be with him.  He could look at other women and assess them, some were pretty, some were beautiful, but he didn’t need anything from them.  His tiny little Rice Ball was it.

But now that she was gone, and his bed was cold, and there was a big hole in his chest where feeling should have been, when he looked at other women sometimes he felt something stir inside.  It was wrong, that stirring was only for Tohru.  His body was betraying her.  She hadn’t even been gone for six months.

I’m sorry Tohru.  I’m a terrible person.

            Yuki was in motion beside him and Kyo started, seeing his slender cousin pulling two large rolling suitcases off the revolving baggage tracks.  Kyo reached out to take his suitcase from Yuki, staring at the tags: Narita to Houston.   The bag was a light blue with one of Tohru’s pastel yellow and blue scarves knotted around the handle.  Tohru’s neat kanji in black marker over the fabric of the bag’s pocket read: Property of Kyo Sohma.

Yuki’s hand rested on his back, but he didn’t speak and Kyo was glad.  Yuki was good like that.  It was like he could read Kyo’s mind and he just knew when to be quiet.  Kyo stilled the shaking in his hands and took a deep breath.  He did a lot of that, deep breathing, to calm his nerves.  Yuki always knew to give him a few minutes when he did that.

Tohru’s phone vibrated and Kyo fished it back out of his pocket.  A spike of fear lanced through him as he recognized his grandmother’s number on the caller ID.  He’d spoken to her a lot on the phone, but talking on the phone and meeting in person was so different.

Kyo pushed the phone toward Yuki and dragged his suitcase to a bench.  He sat down hard, letting the rolling case fall between his legs.  He put his face in his hands.  Deep breaths.  Breathe.  Because he didn’t always remember to.

This wasn’t a good idea.

This was a mistake

He couldn’t do this.

I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.

            “Kyo?  Mrs. Washington says she’s parking her car in the garage, Section F, Green.  She’s here with her husband and your aunts and uncle.  I told her we’d be down in a little while.”  Yuki sat on the bench next to him.  “She sounds like she can’t wait, but she will if you need it.”

The contents of his stomach rose into Kyo’s throat and he tasted the lemon soda he’d had on the plane.  “Yuki, let’s go back home.”

“No,” Yuki said flatly.  “You said that in the car to the airport, in Narita, on the plane, and each time, I said, ‘No.’ We talked about this; you decided it’s time, so it’s time.  Kyo Sohma is not a coward.”

Kyo met Yuki’s dark purple eyes.  Breathe.  Breathe.  “You don’t know what Kyo Sohma is.” Breathe.  Breathe.

“Yes, I do.  He’s the guy who stood by his wife when she was sick, held her in his arms while she was dying, planned her wake and funeral, and continues to make her proud even when she’s not around.”

Kyo rubbed his dry eyes.  He did do that.

“He’s the guy brave enough to be teaching me how to cook.”  Yuki nudged Kyo with his elbow.  “He’s incredible, because I don’t know anyone else who could do what he’s doing right now.”

Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.

“I’m so scared.”

“I know,” Yuki said, “but you know what else, Mrs. Washington might be scared, too.  You’re not the only one meeting someone new today.”

“What if I’m not what she expects?” Kyo asked.

“What if she’s not what you expect?” Yuki shot back.

“I don’t know what I expect,” Kyo said softly.

“Maybe she doesn’t know either,” Yuki said.  “But you’ll never know if we don’t go outside.  Hey, we’re in America.  If we don’t like her, we’ll just have our own vacation.  Remember?  We talked about this. Do you…”  Yuki glanced at his hands for a second; then continued, “Do you want to take a pill?”

Kyo cringed.  Sedatives.  Six months had passed, and sometimes, he still needed a pill to sleep or calm down.  His insides writhed; he was probably going to throw up later, but no, he did not want a pill.  He shook his head.

“Okay,” Yuki said.  “Do you want to go to the bathroom?”

Are you going to spew?  Yuki didn’t have to ask it aloud.

“Maybe,” Kyo said.  They sat, Kyo trying to relax and Yuki practicing his pronunciation of the name “Washington.”  Kyo’s Grandmother Miki had married an American after splitting from Kyo’s grandfather.  The aunts and uncle he’d be meeting were his mother’s half siblings: Aunt Megumi, Aunt Noriko, and Uncle Eiji, who went by the nicknames: Meg, Nori and EJ.

“How does this sound Kyo, ‘Washington’,” Yuki said, exaggerating the syllables.

“You sound like a foreigner who can’t speak English,” Kyo said, letting a small grin creep onto his lips.  “Washington,” he said cleanly and Yuki glared at him; then rolled his eyes.

“You ready?”

Kyo sighed and ran his fingers over Tohru’s scarf.  You with me, Rice Ball?

His heart shuddered at the silence.

Breathe.

“Yeah, I guess I have to be.”

Yuki rose first, helping Kyo to his feet.  Kyo grabbed the handle of the suitcase and followed Yuki’s lead as he read the signs that would take them to the parking garage.  The silk of the scarf was soft and warm under Kyo’s fingers, like rubbing his palm over a smooth cheek.

They exited the air-conditioned airport and stepped onto a musty elevator that dropped them down toward the parking garage.  The numbers above the doors blinked as the car dipped from the 2nd floor, to the 1st, to ground level.  It chimed when it stopped, and the doors opened.

The night was hot and humid; the air tainted with the smell of car exhaust.  Kyo heard voices of people moving through the lot and the scraping of suitcases being dragged across pavement.  He moved like a robot, swinging his legs forward as Yuki walked, looking for the color green and the English letter “F”.

“Kyo?” A woman’s voice called.  He knew that voice.  His head jerked to one side, and he released the handle of his suitcase.  The bag hit the ground with a muffled thump.  Yuki turned to look at Kyo, then at the approaching woman.  Several more people were behind her, but Kyo only had eyes for her.

She sounded like… she looked like… but it couldn’t be….

“Mom?”

-Three Doors Down.  “Ticket to Heaven.”  Away From the Sun.  Universal Records, 2002.

**Author’s Note: So what’s the verdict?  Like it?  Hate it?  Don’t care either way about it?  Any way you liked it let me know.  Please leave a comment!

Author’s Note:  So you all have found my blog.  Take a poke around and let me know if you find something you like.  All updates for “Empty Spaces” will come here first.  Please follow my blog to get alerts about new chapters :).  Okay, so without further adieu, here is the prologue to “Empty Spaces”.

Disclaimer: I do not own Fruits Basket or any of its characters.  (Though I wish I did!)

Click to read: “I’ll Be Standing There By You.”

“Empty Spaces”, A Fruits Basket Fan Fiction

Genre: Hurt/Comfort/Friendship/Tragedy

Characters: Kyo Sohma, Yuki Sohma

Summary: After Tohru Sohma lost her battle with terminal cancer, Kyo must learn to live without her.  Determined to complete a list of things “To Do” that Tohru left behind, Kyo and Yuki travel to the United States to meet Kyo’s maternal family for the first time.  Kyo learns more about his mother’s past, exposes more Sohma secrets, and latches on to his “new” family with a need that worries Yuki more than the Kyo’s decision not to return to Japan.  Alone in a foreign country, Yuki doesn’t know what to do or who to call to help Kyo and bring him home.

Prologue

“I tend to dream you when I’m not sleeping”—PM Dawn.

“Are you crying, Baby?”  Tiny hands touched either side of his face and soft lips kissed the tears from his cheeks.  “Didn’t I do enough of that earlier today?”

            Kyo sniffled and pressed his forehead against hers.  “Yeah, you did.  You’re gonna look like a tomato in all of our pictures.” He chuckled as she tickled him.  Her fresh scent of wildflowers and honey teased his nose, and he buried his face in her long, soft hair.  The ruffles of her wedding dress chaffed at the bare skin of his arms.

            “Kyo-chan, you’re terrible!” She wailed; then giggled.  Her arms wrapped around his back and she squeezed; then gasped as Kyo’s arms went around her, searching for the zipper of her dress and sliding it down.

            “We’ve had a busy day Mrs. Sohma; I think it’s time for a bath and then bed,” Kyo purred in her ear and she moaned, crushing herself against his chest.

            “Y—yes, I think that sounds wonderful.” 

            Her little fingers unbuttoned his silk shirt, and Kyo felt the soft fabric sliding down his shoulders.  He gazed into her wide brown eyes, drinking in her blissful expression and rosy cheeks and glossy brown hair.  He ran a hand through her hair, loosening the white silk ribbon that held half of it bound.  Chocolate waves cascaded over her shoulders.  She was an angel.

            He hefted her into his arms and got to his feet, laughing as she gave a small shriek of surprise.  She kissed his neck and pressed her soft cheek to his chin.  He kissed her temple.

            “I love you Rice Ball.”

(~*~)

Kyo snapped awake, sitting up and whipping his head around.  “Tohru?”

A hand closed over his bicep.  Kyo blinked several times, eyes focusing.  He was sitting in a cushioned chair, on an airplane.  Cold air blew from a small fan overhead and a dim light shone a beam onto his neighbor—the person who held his arm.

“Are you all right?” Yuki asked.  He laid the paperback novel he had been reading across his thighs.

Kyo cleared his throat and reached up to turn off the fan.  “Fine.”

Yuki looked dubious.  “Were you dreaming about Tohru?”

“It was our wedding day,” Kyo said.  “It was… It felt so real.  I guess I thought I should be waking up in bed in that hotel… with her.”

Yuki rubbed his shoulder.  “You want some water?”

Kyo shook his head and rubbed his temples.  He pulled the shade on the portal window beside him and gazed out into the dark night.  He’d lost track of how much time had passed.  He’d known the flight “across the pond” was going to be long, but sitting in one place for 12 hours was torture.  The plane was supposed to touch ground at Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas at 10:30 PM.  It was hard to wrap his around the fact that it would be lunch time in Japan, when it was bedtime in America.

“How much longer, Yuki?” Kyo asked.

“Two hours,” Yuki said, picking his book back up.  “You had a good nap.”

“I can’t believe you been awake this whole time,” Kyo said, shifting in his seat and grunting at the stiffness of his neck and shoulder muscles.

Yuki turned a page in his novel.  “I can’t sleep surrounded by so many people.  It makes me nervous.”

Kyo smirked.  “You should have sat by the window.  Then you’d only be surrounded by me.”  He knew why crowds made Yuki nervous, because it was the same reason they made him nervous as times.  Though it had been years since the Sohma curse was broken, it was still reflex to shy away from mixed sex crowds to avoid collisions with females.  Nothing said “Hello, how are you?” like turning into a fuzzy, talking animal in front of a stunned audience.

“I wanted you to sleep,” Yuki said.  He set his book down again.  “You haven’t been sleeping well.”

Kyo sighed and looked away from Yuki, staring out the window again.  “I know what you said and what Tohru would say, but what if they don’t like me anyway—ow!”

Yuki pinched him, hard.  “Damn Rat, what the hell!”

“Every time you say something negative, I’m going to pinch you as hard as I can,” Yuki said.  “So, unless you want to be black and blue when you meet your grandmother and aunts and cousins, you’ll smile and be positive.”

Kyo blinked at Yuki then grunted, “It’s always the quiet ones.”

Yuki laughed.  “If you ask Machi, she’d tell you I’m not quiet.”

“Too much information,” Kyo said.  He cracked his knuckles and relaxed in his chair. Two more hours until he saw what the rest of his family looked like and find out why he’d never heard from them, not even after his mother had died.  They hadn’t attempted to come to her funeral, didn’t send flowers.  He hadn’t wanted to talk about it on the phone to his grandmother, didn’t know if he wanted to talk about it ever, but it was something he needed to know.

“I’m so glad your family speaks Japanese,” Yuki said.  “My English is rusty and yours just plain stinks.”

Kyo opened his mouth to retort and snapped it shut.

“What were you going to say?” Yuki asked.

“Nothing, or those vice-like pinchers of yours will come after me again,” Kyo said.

“It was negative?” Yuki asked.

“Only toward you.” Kyo grinned and yelped as Yuki pinched him again.

“Stupid Cat!”

“You love me.” Kyo continued to grin.

“I love you too, Kyo-chan.”

Kyo closed his eyes, feeling her eyelashes tickling his lips and smelling the honey and wildflowers of her hair.  His fingers gripped the armrest between he and Yuki and he swallowed.  Two more hours.

I wish you were here, Rice Ball.  I need you.

PM Dawn.  “I’d Die Without You.” The Bliss Album…? (Vibrations of Love and Anger and the Ponderance of Life and Existence).  V2 North America, 1993.  CD.

Okay, so I promised you all that I am a super nerd, so here is my proof.  I am going to be a big copy cat and follow the trend of only updating new fan fiction here on my blog.

So, for those of you who have followed me from Fan Fiction.net, here is where you’re going to find the sequels to:

  • I’ll Be Standing There By You (Fruits Basket)
  • Severed (Escaflowne)

And I will also revise, re-post and finish the stories:

  • The Butterfly (Powerpuff Girls)
  • Fall Into the Sky (X-Men Evolution)
  • A Return To Arms (Ronin Warriors/Gundam Wing)
  • Sodality Arc: Ginkotsu (Inuyasha)

I also want to try my hand at stories for:

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Ouran High
  • Prince of Tennis
  • Tekkaman Blade
  • Harry Potter
  • Vampire Diaries (TV show)

Visit: http://www.fanfiction.net/~Eboni if you’re interested in some of the titles I mentioned.  I will warn you that since it is fan fiction, some of the works have not been proofread as carefully as they could have been, and please take into account that some of the stories are very old and do not reflect my current level of writing.  But hey, they are all a lot of fun, and I do delve into some controversial issues in some.  Well, have at!

Image

Query letters…. Okay, so Writers Market gives you a standard cookie cutter format.  Looks good, easy even, but then you think EVERYONE AND THEIR MOM HAS THIS SAME BOOK!  Do agents really want to read the same format over and over?  Maybe they will grab the letter that dared to be different.  OR maybe they will take the letter that dared to be different and say: MUHAHAHAHA! One to burn for not following the rules!

Time to do more query research, unless anybody out there has any advice?  I pay in… uh… let’s see… stale organic chocolate chip cookies. 🙂

There is so much to do!  I’m reading this big, thick book known as The Writers Market that lets me know that finishing a book hasn’t even gotten me over the first hurdle.  I’ve got the blog, now I need the book trailer, the readings, the PR, and… finally… the agent.  After the agent, the game begins.

I’m loading up on carbs and watching my butt grow as I try to figure out how to do all this stuff.  Fun stuff, fun stuff, but hey I love it.  Now I know why some of my writing teachers say being a serious writer is a full time job.  Marry someone to take care of you so you won’t starve trying to follow your dream.

So, hey, I like long walks on the beach (not really), I like to cook and clean (HAHAHAHA, if you believe that go away now), and I’ll work out so my butt won’t be so big after I finish eating up all these carbs!  Marry me someone!

Anyways, book trailer up soon!

I know I sound like a hick, but I will fix it so that I sound more like a nerd in my next statement.  Before this blog, I’ve only had blogs for class.  I know, fun, fun stuff, right?–uh yeah, no.

So, if anyone is reading this or following me, you might know that I fancy myself a writer.  I went and got fancy degrees that say I’m a writer, but they don’t say if I’m any good.  If you ask me, I might say I suck on Wednesday, but I was hot on Tuesday.  I’m biased; so hey, I want to ask you!

This blog is to show people what I’ve been working on FOREVER (okay, so for the past few years).  I finally, finally finished a novel that I am brave enough to share with anyone who wants to read it.  I’m going to be checking in here and letting you all know what I’m doing to get this publishing thing going.  I’ll post rejection letters, YOU SUCK letters, and anything else, along with book trailers and chocolates and pies, and cookies (and now I’m just trying to see if you’re still reading :D!)

Keep up with me and my journey and drop me a line some time.  I love talking to other writers and readers and lurkers, and whoever else is out there!

Take care!

Ebs