After the opening ceremony of the second term, Class 1-C's members of the girl's soccer team met on the roof of the school for a chat. Mostly Keiko seemed to be in some hot water with Saito
"Not only is the new principal my father, but so was the man Mito-san was meeting at the omiai last week?!" Saito demanded of Keiko
"Gomen'nasai." Keiko, sitting seiza in front of Saito, moaned
"Coincidences happen, don't they?" said Yuzuki
"Can it, Kirishima!" Saito exclaimed
"Since when do you use my last name?"
"Leave it Yuzuki. Shirayuki's just angry his wife kept her affair a secret from him." said Miho
"(sigh) You done?" Saito asked. Miho and Yuzuki both raised their right hands, and Saito turned back to Keiko "Keiko, why didn't you tell me?"
"I just... I... I didn't want to worry you." said Keiko
"(eehh) Wrong answer."
"And why not?"
"This is my father we're talking about. I think I had a right to know that he was still alive."
"Je n'ai jamais pensé que je verrais le jour où Saito parleraiit Keiko avec condescendance. [I never thought I'd see the day Saito would be talking down to Keiko.]" said Chloe
"I don't know what you said, but stay out of this." said Saito
"Chill, Mon ami."
"Saito, what are you getting so worked up for?" Keiko asked "You said yourself that he abandoned your family before Michiru was born."
"I'm sure he must have had his reasons for leaving." said Saito as he turned toward the door
"Saito, where are you going?" Keiko asked standing up at last
"To talk with my father. I haven't seen him since I was, like, two."
"Saito, you mustn't!" Keiko exclaimed, grabbing Saito's wrist
"Why? He's my father."
"Saito, please, trust me. You mustn't have anything to do with him. He's not the man you seem to think he is."
"Why should I trust you after you didn't tell me the truth?" Saito asked, yanking his wrist out of Keiko's hand and storming down the stairs
"Smooth, Keiko-chan." said Yuzuki
"Can it." Keiko replied
"I've never seen him so stubborn." said Yuki
"À quoi peux-tu t'attendre? [What can you expect?] He hasn't seen his old man for fourteen years." said Chloe "Why don't you want them to meet?"
"I don't want Saito to get hurt." Keiko replied
"He can't be that bad, can he?" Miho asked
"You weren't at the omiai. You didn't hear the things he said, you didn't see the look in his eyes. It was like looking down into an empty abyss. An abyss. I'm telling you, Kazuto Shirayuki is not a good person."
"Relax, we believe you." said Yuki "But you can't stop Saito-kun from at least seeing him once."
"Yuki a raison. [Yuki is right.] If what you say is true, he needs to see it for himself." said Chloe "Afterwards, just let him come back to you."
The girls went back to class, but they didn't see Saito again the whole day after that. Finally the first meeting of the new term for the soccer clubs began.
"Where's Saito-kun?" Suzuka asked when they gathered on the field, along with the boys team
"We haven't seen him since he stormed off after arguing with Kei-chan about his dad." said Yuki "He never came back to class."
"To think our new principal is Saito-kun's dad." said Miki
"Must've been quite a shock." said Yukari "Saito-kun grew up without his dad, didn't he?"
"Please just drop it." said Keiko "He'll be back once he's cooled off."
"You guys aiming for the winter championship?" Tsukasa asked the boys' team
"We're gonna keep our winning streak." Yamato said, more to his team than the girls, giving them a look as if to say "Or else."
"All right, everyone settle down and gather 'round." said Mai, arriving at the field with Mako, and somebody else that Keiko and Suzuka recognized right away. It was Mina Meier.
"Wh-wha-what's Mina Meier doing here?!" Suzuka asked, as both teams exclaimed in surprise
"I'll explain." said Mai as she sat down on the bench, only accomplished with some help from Nagisa and Akane "Arigato. Because I'm reaching a, um, point, I must take leave of the team sooner than planned. I'll remain 1-C's homeroom teacher a while longer, but as of today I'm no longer your coach."
"That's where I come in." said Mina "I'll be taking over for Mai as your coach starting today."
"SF Frankfurt's former ace coaching us?!" said Amuro
"And I'm tough too."
"This just got interesting." said Tsukasa
"No matter how tough it gets, I expect you to give Mina the same level of respect you gave me." said Mai "I mean it."
"Yes, Coach Murasaki." the team chorused
"And boys," said Mako "I know some dire circumstances left us unable to play in the summer tournament, but we're not about to let go of the Winter Cup."
"No, Coach Hyodo." the boys chorused
"However," said Mina "I know you kids have your school festival coming up soon, so we're gonna take it easy for a bit. But after that, we get serious."
"Seconded." said Mako
"Mai-chan," said Suzuka "We'll do everything Coach Meier tells us, so just take it easy and have a healthy baby."
"Leaving the team to you girls, I know I can rest easy."
After a bit of light practice, both teams got ready to go home. But Saito never showed up.
"You don't need to accompany me." said Yuzuki as 1-C's girls' soccer team members returned to the classroom to retrieve something Yuzuki forgot
"We can all go home afterwards." said Yuki
"Did you forget most of us are living in different directions?" Keiko asked as Miho opened the door
"Uh, Keiko-chan." said Miho
"What?" Keiko inquired, peering into the room. In the corner of the far side of the room was huddled Saito. Keiko went over and knelt down next to him and noticed that he seemed to be crying "Saito? What's wrong, what happened?"
"Keiko...?" Saito answered, looking up, tears running down his face "How does it feel?"
"What?" Keiko inquired, confused
"I went to see my dad in his office. I told him I was his son. But he said 'I have no son.'"
"But you two share the same blood, a DNA test will prove that. And you two have the same eye color."
"You tried to tell me he wasn't a good person, but I wouldn't listen. He said the reason he left us, was because my sisters and I exist. Keiko, how does it feel... to have a father who loves you?" Saito broke down and cried into Keiko's chest, Keiko holding his head gently
"I'm so sorry, Saito." said Keiko, who seemed close to tears herself
Saito was so upset and depressed that he needed the girls' help to even stand up. They met Suzuka, waiting for them, at the school gate. After saying goodbye to Yuzuki, Miho and Chloe, she helped Keiko and Yuki drag Saito home.
"I'm not going to join you for dinner tonight." said Keiko after they put Saito down on the bed in the apartment
"Well I assume not, since Saito-kun needs you right now." said Yuki
"I know. He's usually the one comforting me. This time it's my turn to comfort him.
"Good luck." said Suzuka, and both Yuki and Suzuka left at that
Keiko went back inside, laid herself down on Saito's back and embraced him from behind.
Meanwhile, in an condo building in Tokyo;
"How was your first day as principal of Enoshima High School?" said Kazuto Shirayuki's maid
"Uneventful, Ryoko-san." said Kazuto "Although, my 'son' came to my office."
"I didn't know you had children." said Ryoko as she poured tea for Kazuto
"Biologically speaking, I do. But as far as I'm concerned, I have no children. Another thing: I'm expecting company any minute. Once you pour him some tea, go take a shower and get ready." Right then the doorbell rang "That should be him."
Ryoko went to answer the door and came back with a young Frenchman. It was Leon Lafayette.
"My apologies for the wait, Kazuto-sama."
"Pour him some black tea, then you leave us in peace." said Kazuto as Leon sat opposite him
"Do you speak English, 'cause I don't speak Jap." said Leon
"I speak English fine." Kazuto replied
"So what did you summon me here for?"
"I hear your little sister's in my school."
"That girl is still being stubborn. If she doesn't take over our family's company, my ambitions to be President of France will be ruined."
"What would you say if I said I could help?" Kazuto asked as Ryoko poured Leon's tea and then left the room
"What do you mean?" Leon asked
"I know many people and have many connections thanks to my brother's company. He's oblivious of course."
"Are you saying that by the next primaries, you could use these 'connections' to get me into candidacy? You know I require signed nomination from at least five hundred elected officials to be a candidate?"
"I've been trying to get into politics myself. I know the rules back and front."
"Even if I say yes, why would you help me?"
"We have something in common. You have ambitions to become President of France. I have ambitions to become Prime Minister of Japan. If we cooperate to achieve these ends, think of the benefits both our countries could reap."
"Sounds like bêtises [trash], but you've got my interest. What's the deal?" Leon inquired
"You help me get something I want, I pull a few strings and have your sister sent back to your homeland. Simple as that." Kazuto explained
"Keep talking. What is it that you want?"
"There's this young girl I have my eye on, but she's already dating someone. My son."
"How am I supposed to help?!"
"I'll have my way with words with her, but my son... I hear you're dating quite a looker. I want you to have her seduce him."
"I get it, drive a wedge between them." Leon concluded
"Precisely!" Kazuto exclaimed, clapping his hands once "Do we have a deal?"
"I refuse to let you use my girlfriend for this little scheme, but I know another woman who might be more than willing." said Leon "Entendu! [Deal!]" Kazuto and Leon shook hands and Leon left soon after.
After having a short shower himself, Kazuto joined Ryoko in the master bedroom
"I heard everything, my English is perfect." said Ryoko as Kazuto threw off his robe and started playing with her from behind "I know for a fact that these 'connections' that you have through Soji-san's company don't exist. There's no way you could help him become President."
"I've lied to and ruined so many people to get the fortune I have now." said Kazuto as he groped Ryoko's breasts from behind "A few more mean little to me." Kazuto entered Ryoko at that point "Besides, if I get what I want, Prime Ministership of Japan, I don't care if he never gets into the French Government. It's almost assured that I'll be elected to the House of Representatives this December. Then I'm one step closer to running this country."
"And you add... another girl... to your long list... of sex women." Ryoko gasped as Kazuto went faster each second
Three days later;
Saturday September 4th;
"What's with this visit to your family all about?" Keiko asked as she and Saito walked to the Shirayuki residence, following their half day of school
"I don't know." Saito replied "Mom simply called me last night and asked me to come home and bring you. What this is about is anyone's guess." Saito seemed to be doing better than he was on the day of the opening ceremony, and Keiko always made sure not to bring it up nor say anything about Kazuto. Saito rang the doorbell before opening the door "Mom, girls, I'm home."
"I'm here too." Keiko called
"There you two are!" Ushio exclaimed, poking her head from the door to the living room "Come on, get in here."
The couple followed Ushio into the living room.
"Honestly, what's with the sudden call for me to come home?" Saito and Keiko stopped in their tracks. In the living room was Ushio, Sanae, Michiru, wearing clothes indoors for once, and someone else "Who're you?"
"Soji-san?" said Keiko, recognizing him at once, then noticed somone else sitting in the far corner "Jade?"
"¡Sorpresa! [Surprise!]" said Jade
"Who are these two?" Saito inquired
"Onii-chan, meet Uncle Soji." said Michiru
"He's our uncle from our father's side." said Sanae
"Don't give him that look." said Ushio "He may be your father's brother, but he's the complete opposite of him."
"You probably don't remember, but I visited you a few times when you four were in Italy." said Soji "I'm relieved to see you became such a handsome young man."
"He really is the complete opposite of father." said Saito
"Speaking of which, I still haven't said hi to daddy since he became principal of Enoshima." said Michiru "So later I'm going...."
"NO!" the adults, Keiko and Saito exclaimed
"Stay away from your father." Ushio said sternly
"Enough of that. Who's the girl?" Saito asked
"Jade Rodríguez." Keiko introduced "I met her when Suzuka and I were in Panama."
"But, Jade, what are you doing here in Japan?" Keiko asked
"It's a bit of a long story." said Jade as Keiko and Saito sat down at last
"Explain it in as few English words as possible."
"Remember that one-day modeling you did for us?" Keiko nodded "Mister Shirayuki's company, which makes sports equipment, got wind of it and called my mother. This and that happened and now I'm here."
"You're only confusing me more."
"Let me explain." said Soji "As she said, my company makes sports equipment, for almost every sport. An employee of mine got a copy of that magazine, which we are affiliated with, and we want you to model our sportswear in a magazine."
"Modeling? Again? I am not a model." said Keiko
"But with those looks... come on, you're gorgeous." said Michiru
"I know, right?" said Ushio
"What if I said that I would pay for college for you both?" Soji suggested
"Bribery won't work on us." said Keiko
"'Bribery' is a bit harsh." said Saito
"Saito, everyone, I'm not a model. I'm an athlete. Further, college is still a long way away from us. We'll figure something out ourselves when the time comes. Our families are already paying for us to live in our apartment. We can't ask anything more."
"Maybe today isn't a good day." said Soji, getting up and taking out a card "But if you ever change your mind." Soji handed his card to Keiko and turned to the others "Ushio-chan, kids, good day."
Soji left the house at that
"Sorry if I chased him out." said Keiko
"Oh, don't be." said Ushio
"Since no one feels like speaking in English, I guess I'll go too." said Jade, getting up
"You got a place to stay?" Ushio asked
"I'm staying with my dad while here. I'll be going home on Monday. And Keiko."
"It sounded like you refused him, but at least give it some more thought. Anyway, see you at Casablanca 2036, if we don't meet again before then." Jade left the house at that
"The Olympics?" Saito inquired
"Don't ask." Keiko replied "Do my parent's even know about this?"
"Of course. I talked to them beforehand." said Ushio
Saito and Keiko went back to their apartment and had dinner a few hours later.
"Keiko, dinner's ready." said Saito, placing dinner on the table. But Keiko, laying on the bed holding Soji's card above her, didn't seem to hear him "Keiko! You've been staring at that card since we got home."
"Sorry." Keiko replied, putting the card down at last, but still not getting up "Even though I said no, I can't deny it perked my interest a bit. But I'm already busy with school, the team, Nadeshiko Japan. How can I take this on as well?"
"Just ask them to work around your schedule as a condition for accepting." Saito suggested
"Maybe. Another thing: why does everyone insist I'm such a good looker?"
"Because you are." Saito replied, kissing Keiko on the cheek
"But when I look in the mirror, I don't see anything special. I don't really do anything to make myself look good."
"You don't need to anyway. You're naturally beautiful. Do you know what some people at school call you behind your back? They call you the 'Princess of Enoshima'."
"So embarrassing." Keiko said
"Lately people have also been saying you're a favorite to win the Miss Enoshima Contest at this year's school festival."
"No way in hell I'm entering that!" Keiko exclaimed, sitting up at last
"Well, school stuff aside, you look great in anything. You're also one of the most well known female athletes in Japan. If people see pictures of you modeling wear for other sports, think how much more popular sports will be for young people."
"I don't know if you're naïve or optimistic. Look, you know I hate being the center of attention. You realize other men will see me in those pics."
"It's not like it's porno. Don't try to argue further, 'cause you can't win this one."
"Wait a minute... you're trying to persuade me because you want to see me wearing all that sportswear." Keiko concluded
"It could also make for some decent drawings and paintings." Saito admitted
"(sigh) I give, you win. I'll try it out."
The following day, Sunday September 5th:
Keiko and Saito both joined Jade and Soji in the studio where they were having a test photo shoot.
"Keiko-chan, thanks again for accepting." said Soji
"I haven't actually said 'yes' yet." Keiko replied, who had changed into a soccer kit she was to model
"How is the kit?" one of Soji's associates asked
"Compared to the kits my team wears, it's actually really comfortable. Easy to move in too."
"Glad to hear it." said Soji, just as Jade's phone rang
"It's my sister, excuse me." said Jade before answering it "¿Hola? Sara? No es un buen momento.... Papá y yo estamos volviendo a casa mañana!... No me que, hermananita dar! ¿Hola? Sara? Pucha! [Hello? Sara? Not a good time.... Dad and I are coming home tomorrow!... Don't give me that, little sister! Hello? Sara? Geez!]"
"Family issues?" Saito asked as Jade hung up
"No le pida. [Don't ask.]" Jade replied
"We're ready over here!" the camera man called
"You owe me for this." Keiko told Soji before taking her place
"Lei è sempre così testardo. [She's always so stubborn.]" Saito said in Italian, surprising Jade
"He speaks Italian?" Jade asked Soji
"He lived in Italy for a few years." Soji replied simply
Keiko modeled outfits from Soccer, Tennis, Basketball, Baseball, Competitive Swimming, Beach Volleyball, etc. All the latest from Soji's company for the promotion of women's sports and to help the sales.
"That wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be." said Keiko as the walked home after the shoot "Although I'd be a bit happier if your uncle didn't try to sneak in a contract. How stupid does he think I am?"
"Are you done?" Saito asked
"Yeah, I'll stop complaining."
"Keiko, the company isn't really doing too bad, but Uncle Soji just wants to see if it can do better."
"I understand, but... I don't know."
"You don't like dressing up?" Saito suggested
".... That might be it." Keiko admitted "You've made it clear that I'm cute without even trying, but I don't like drawing drawing attention to myself."
"Maybe not. But there's another thing I'd like to point out."
"College. Even though it's a few years away, we've both decided where we're going to go, but paying for two universities is another matter. And we both stubbornly refused to let our families pay for it. I just don't see how we're going to pay for it ourselves."
"(sigh) I hate it when you're right." said Keiko as they came to a halt "Call Soji-san and tell him I'll take the job. But it has to work around my schedule."
"Right away." said Saito, pulling out his phone
"One last thing." said Keiko before Saito could call "I'm glad you've taken a liking to your uncle, he is a good man, but this is strictly for college. And... this is the last time I let you talk me into something like this, the last time! Capiche?"
"Crystal clear." Saito replied with a smile