Ritchie Honda paced impatiently back and forth along the alleyway behind the club she worked at. She'd already finished her shift and had been just about to leave when she'd spotted Shizuo Heiwajima lurking around near the entrance to the club
This was when she'd made her sharp exit out the back.
She was a flirty person by nature and would happily use that to her advantage when it came to getting things that she wanted. However, she'd once made the mistake of flirting with Shizuo when he was working as a bartender at the club to try and score some free drinks. She'd gotten the drinks but she'd also gained an unwanted admirer. He'd obviously taken her a little too seriously.
So now she was stuck in the back alleyway. If you could even call it an alleyway
It was an area used mainly for storing empty bottles by the club. Besides the way she'd come through all she was facing were three solid walls.
It would have been possible to climb she was actually pretty good at climbing and used to participate in free running competitions but not in the killer high heels she was currently wearing. So her options were either waiting out here or going back inside. She mulled over the idea of how quickly she could get inside and hide behind the bar before being spotted
Ritchie wheeled around, bewildered. There wasn't anybody out here but her. There wasn't even anywhere for anybody to be.
"Up here!" the voice called helpfully.
Ritchie looked up to see a young man sat comfortably up on one of the rooftops, watching her speculatively. She scowled. She didn't like the idea of someone watching her. "Can I help you?"
"You're Richelle Honda, aren't you?" he asked, still regarding her like she was something really interesting.
Ritchie's scowl deepened. She knew she had a bit of a reputation in Ikebukuro she was okay with that. It was the use of her full name that she wasn't okay with. "It's Ritchie," she corrected him shortly.
The guy didn't seem at all bothered by her blunt tone. He just continued to look rather entertained. "My mistake," he said cheerfully. "So what are you doing back here?"
"I work here," said Ritchie in an exasperated tone. Just who the hell was this guy to question her? "I can hang around out here if I want."
"You look more like you're planning an escape route," the guy pointed out, an amused look on his face.
"And what's it to you?" asked Ritchie. She was starting to think that going back inside the club and throwing herself at Shizuo would be the better option here.
He shrugged. "Maybe I can help."
Ritchie narrowed her eyes. The guy may have been acting cheery but she felt there was a bit more to it than that
She could tell one thing at least he wasn't someone to be trusted. "And why would you want to do that?"
The guy grinned. "It could be fun."
Trust wasn't an issue anymore; now she was more worried about the guy's sanity. She'd definitely be better off inside with Shizuo. "That's too bad. I'm going back inside now," Ritchie said pointedly.
"What, you're giving in already?" the guy looked disappointed. "I thought you were hiding from someone."
"Wait, how did you know that?" said Ritchie suspiciously. She was pretty sure she hadn't mentioned that she was avoiding anyone. The guy just smirked and didn't answer. Ritchie had a sneaky suspicion of what was going on
"Was it Shizuo? Did he get you following me too?"
However, his reaction was not what she'd expected. He clapped his hands together in delight. "So it is Shizu-chan you're hiding from!"
Saying Ritchie felt lost would be a total understatement. She had no idea who this guy was, how he knew she was trying to avoid Shizuo or what he was even trying to get at
All she knew was this conversation was tiring her out. The only thing she'd wanted to do was get out of there.
I don't really care who you are. I'm bored of this conversation and I just wanna go home," said Ritchie. "I'd say it's been a blast, but it hasn't really
"So why don't you let me help you get out of here?" said the guy, kicking his legs out like a child on a swing.
"Why exactly are you so keen to help me?" asked Ritchie dubiously. Just as the guy went to speak she then cut him off. "And if you say it's because you think it'll be fun then I'm gonna take one of these empty bottles and throw it at you."
The guy looked at her in mock surprise. "Violence!" He tutted. "I'm trying to be your knight in shining armour; you should be a little nicer to me."
Ritchie snorted. Yeah, right. He was as far from a knight in shining armour as she was from a simpering damsel in distress. "Stop dodging the question."
The guy gave her a lazy smile. "I guess you could say we're in the same boat. I'm hardly Shizu-chan's biggest fan either."
Ritchie raised her eyebrows. "Yet you call him Shizu-chan?"
He grinned. "Of course. He can't stand it."
Ritchie stared at him in disbelief. Did this guy have a death wish? Shizuo Heiwajima was infamous for being a notorious badass. Everyone made a point to not piss him off. Except for Ritchie, but she could obviously get away with it.
"Well that's your funeral
" Ritchie shrugged. "How are you planning to help me anyway? As far as I can see my only options are either going back inside or just staying out here."
"You could just climb up this way," the guy suggested.
"In these shoes? I don't think so," said Ritchie.
The guy gave an overdramatic sigh. "You could just take them off," he proposed, like it was obvious.
Ritchie made a face at that idea. She was far from being a snob but she'd seen this back alleyway used as a toilet more than once. Her shoes were staying on. "I don't think so."
He grinned. "Are you being deliberately uncooperative?"
"Actually I'm just being me," Ritchie said truthfully. "Being difficult is one of my strong suits."
The guy laughed. "You're a very interesting human
Now why don't you stop worrying about your shoes and come on up here?"
Ritchie hesitated. She realised that she'd been standing out here making conversation with this stranger for quite a while. Shizuo had probably even taken off by now. Anybody else would have just declined and gone back inside
But Ritchie hated being predictable. And she happened to have a bit of a taste for seeking out trouble.
She studied the wall ahead of her. It wasn't high only about eight or nine feet. It was uneven, weathered and it had plenty of reasonably-sized handholds. If she took her time she could probably manage to climb it, even wearing these ridiculous heels. She'd most likely be eighty by the time she got up there but at least it would be better than falling on her ass.
She made a show of sighing and rolling her eyes. "Eh
The climb actually wasn't as difficult as she'd expected. Maybe she'd been exaggerating a little about her shoes
Sure, they'd hardly be any use on an assault course but, amazingly, they could happily withstand a bit of climbing. The thing that was most distracting was the annoying chuckling she could hear above her. Why was she doing this again?
When she pulled herself onto the top the guy was on his feet, watching her with that amused look on his face. She had no idea what was supposed to be funny and that annoyed her. "Happy now?" she said sarcastically.
"Very," said the guy, still amused.
Up close Ritchie was able to study him better. He was a good several inches taller than her though most people were with a lean build. He had messy black hair and dark eyes she couldn't tell what colour in this early morning light. His mouth seemed permanently turned up in a half smirk. His whole appearance just screamed bad boy.
"So who are you anyway?" Ritchie asked curiously. After all, most people would have had better things to do at five o'clock in the morning than hang around sitting on rooftops and goading strangers.
"I thought you'd never ask!" he said brightly, giving her a mock bow. "I'm Izaya Orihara."
Surprise shot through her. Crap! Izaya Orihara was another infamous figure in Ikebukuro. He was a twisted intel broker who most people generally avoided. He and Shizuo had a long-running feud, which explained why he'd found it so amusing that Ritchie had been hiding from him.
Ritchie sighed. Only she could get herself involved with possibly the two most ill-famed people in the city. "So am I free to go now?" Now that she was up out of the alleyway getting home would be a cinch.
Izaya grinned. "You're not afraid of me, are you Ritchie-chan?"
Ritchie scowled again at his informal manner. "Call me that again and I'll kick your teeth in," she threatened.
Izaya just chuckled and ignored her threat. "I won't be offended if you are. I am a bad influence after all."
Ritchie gave him a withering look. "Trust me
I'm a stage dancer, I drink around the clock and I've already been arrested four times. I don't think there's anything left of me that you could influence."
Izaya laughed appreciatively. "I can see we're going to get along great. I'd very much like to run into you again..."
A small voice in the back of Ritchie's mind was advising her to tell him to back off and then avoid him like the plague. Unfortunately the rest of her had no such plans.
The one thing she ever asked for was an interesting life. That was why she'd moved to Ikebukuro in the first place. She had no time for rules and she purposely set out looking for trouble.
Izaya Orihara was the definition of trouble.
So she simply shrugged and said, "Well you know where to find me if you've got something interesting in mind."
Without giving him any kind of goodbye she turned away and hopped down the fire escape on the other side of the building, feeling slightly excited for the first time in quite a while.