Rating: PG-13 - Some swear words. Nothing biggie, but I don't want the administration going after me for not rating appropriately.
Chit-chats: No own Gundam Wing. Plot is mine. First time posting! ^_^ I hope to have a lot of fun while I'm doing this. Review, please? Constructive criticism is easier to understand than "your story sucks" or whatever. I want to know why it does. Okay! Here we go...
P.S.- Thank you for taking time to read this! :)
March 13 - Friday, 4:38 PM
While growing up, daddy used to put me on his lap and he would read to me tales of princesses, knights, and rainbows. What he didn't know was I never believed in them; I stayed on his lap because I liked listening to his voice. It was a deep, rich, velvety voice; an alto, for those who are freaks for details. Never do I recall not falling asleep on daddy's lap and waking up the next morning, still seeking his warmth. Needless to say, I was daddy's little girl.
Mommy was not around when I grew up; she died suddenly when I was six. But if I concentrated hard enough, I can remember how gentle she was, how she'd brush my hair before I went to bed, and her smile. Mommy had a pretty smile: a small mouth and perfect rows of small teeth. Daddy told me I had her smile, so just for him I would smile all the time. He'd sigh, shake his head, and would unfailingly say "As long as you're around, I would never love other women but you and your mother." I didn't know what he meant at that time. All I wanted for him to do was get on with that night's story so I can listen to his voice again.
Standing in front of this palatial place, I now knew the reason why I never believed in those fairytales.
"A pleasant afternoon to you, Miss Peacecraft," the butler greeted me. The wrinkles on his face responded to his smile, crinkling up around his eyes, between his eyebrows and on his cheeks. There was genuine warmth at his greeting and I found it hard not to smile back. "My name is Pagan. Please leave your things in your vehicle; they will be taken care of."
He urged me to follow him up the steps and into, what I assumed, the family room. Seeing the creme-colored drapes, the lavishly decorated nooks and crannies of the room made me very uncomfortable. I felt like a damn hobo dining in a five-star restaurant somewhere in Manhattan with my Nike shoes, sweatpants, loose shirt and all. I cleared my throat, trying to make a poor attempt to have a conversation with Pagan. "So, I was commanded to live in this beautiful prison and he doesn't even bother to welcome me?"
"He" meaning my new husband. But I will explain that later.
"Sir Yuy wishes to send you his deepest apologies. He'll try to make it home before dinner at seven," he replied. "If you wish to call him-"
I shook my head. "It's not necessary. In fact, it doesn't really make any difference whether he comes home or not." I bit the inside of my lip, a habit of mine that stayed when I got extremely uncomfortable or something. In this case, I was more like... overloaded. I'm not used to this new habitat, domicile, crib, whatever you call it. I grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood and still resided in the same house after getting a job. I drive an extremely outdated 2002 Toyota Camry. I was a store manager for the local Starbucks in our area, even though I held a degree in political science and majored in philosophy. My plans were to grow old, retire from that beloved coffee shop and then live in the Bahamas, if I had enough money. In other words, they were simple, sensible, and predictably boring. That was, of course, until daddy died.
"Can you direct me to my room, please?" I asked, my knees wobbling. His death was not very old news, nor was it new but the wounds never went away. Come to think of it, they got worse as days went by without him. "This is very overwhelming for me and I need to rest."
"Why, yes of course. Lucia!" Pagan called and there came in an old petite Latina lady with snowy white hair. "Will you please show Miss Peacecraft to her room?" He stopped for a moment and regarded me with a questioning look. "My apologies. I've been addressing to you as Miss Peacecraft, whereas it should have been Mrs. Yuy."
I couldn't help but feel a familiar detachment from the title. Everything, as I said, was still so new. I shrugged. "It doesn't matter. Miss Peacecraft's fine."
On our way to the room, Lucia started a conversation of what a fine choice I was for her la nino. What I didn't tell her was we were stuck together, whether we wanted to *be* together or not. I humored her instead; replying at the right times, smiling when needed. I didn't mean to offend her by not laughing when she made jokes. I chuckled to make her feel better; that was *if* she needed to feel better. I was a hard person to get to nowadays. So much has happened: my father's death, having to explain my sudden departure to my staff, and finally this godforsaken arranged marriage to a complete stranger's son. Hell, I didn't even know about my father's war friends until his Alzheimer's kicked in hard.
Oh and by the way, how many arranged marriages do you hear about in the year 2032? I racked my brain endlessly and besides what was left of the defunct royal families, I can think of no one. So I'm alone. Well, not really, but that Yuy guy does *not* count.
Maybe I'm feeling too sorry for myself. I mean, worse things have happened, after all. But at this time, I did not care at all. I never intended to get married; guys were just little buggers, after all.
"This is your room, yes?" Lucia told me. Her voice, with a cute accent and grandmotherly tone, brought me back to the present time. "You like it, yes?"
My god... *like* it? This was every woman's dream! Every woman who was a pure romantic at heart, I mean. I most certainly do not fit that category, unfortunately. Even more unfortunate was that Yuy did not know that. My supposed bedroom's motif seemed to be pale blue: from the bed sheets, the sheer curtains covering the balcony doors, the color of the walls, down to the pair of bunny slippers set so graciously for me just beside the bed...
Double-take. Bunny slippers?
Apparently, Lucia had a form of empathic ability because she answered my unspoken question. "Well, seňorito learn you love bunnies." When I turned, I must have had some sort of look on my face because she flipped out on me. Her tiny hands flew to her mouth and she hurriedly ran towards the slippers. "Lo siento, seňorita! Oh no, you get mad! I take them away now, no problem..."
Just as hurriedly as she ran to the slippers, I knelt beside her and took her hands. "No, Lucia, no," I said, smiling gratefully. "I'm sorry that I gave you an impression I didn't like bunnies." I took off my shoes and slipped the plushy slippers on. "See? They're on my feet." She smiled when I smiled, but it was not over. "What I'd like to know is, how did he know I like bunnies?"
"Your papi, seňorita," she replied truthfully. "He said to my Don Miguelito you will grow up with bunnies. Don Miguelito said to my niňo same thing before he die."
"Yes. I cannot say his American name, so I give him new name."
Figured. Miguelito was a far cry from Michael, but it was close. What struck me was daddy's been planning things way before I was born. The war ended in 2004 and mommy gave birth to me two years later. I shook my head in a pathetic attempt to clear it. "Thank you, Lucia. I would like to rest now."
Seeing the tiny woman walk away made my worries a little bit easier to bear. Her presence and Pagan's company just might make things a bit better for me in this mansion. I padded over to the nearest chair, wanting to curl up and get some comfort from this whole new environment. An environment I had to explore and learn without daddy by my side.
Nothing I've experienced scared me more than that.
Past Edition: March 6 - Friday, 2:24 pm
It started when I was at work. A week had passed since daddy died and everyone at my workplace were given warnings (or threats, take your pick) to leave me alone. The unfortunate soul of that dreary day happened to be Marcy, a new employee at the branch I was assigned to. All of our other colleagues' eyes were on her as she walked over to my area, her knees trembling all the way.
"Mi-miss... ma'am," she said, "phone call for-for you."
"Who is it?"
"He-he said his...his... your lawyer," Marcy squeaked.
I bit my lip to hide my surfacing smile. This situation was just too amusing. I took the phone away from her death grip and she almost ran towards the cashier, looking too eager to excuse herself from my presence. "Yes, sir."
"Down, woman," my lawyer told me, chuckling. "You might give your staff a nervous breakdown, heart failures, or worse, psychological trauma."
"No sir, trust me they won't do that. They're going to be the nice little employees that I trained them to be until I get over this." I shuffled the papers in front of me, feeling a little bit nervous for some reason. "What's going on? I thought you weren't going to call me this soon."
There was a pause on the other line and I heard him clear his throat in what seemed to be an uncomfortable manner. "I think it's best that you come in later today. Say, around five or so."
Okay... so this is the perfect time to panic for some reason. Our family lawyer is mommy's best friend from college and I can say that he's a part of the Peacecraft family. "Uncle J?" I asked, finally addressing to him on a more personal level. "Why? Is it about daddy's will? I told you that whatever financial-"
"It's more than that, honey," he interrupted. "Money's involved, yes. But you're probably not going to believe it unless you show up at my office. I can't tell you over the phone. It would be best if you had trusted company with you."
"Yes, like me." The smile I heard in his voice faded and he used his professional tone on me. "I'm serious, Relena. You either come today or you'll be going through this without knowing what the hell is going on."
I was silent for a moment, mentallly going through that day's schedule. The assistant manager was scheduled for today at four... I pulled the phone away from my ear. "Hey, can anyone make sure that Carter's coming in today?!"
When I got to Uncle J's office, it was already 15 minutes past the time I was supposed to be there. Hey, I'm a busy woman! I got out of work as quickly as I was able to. When I saw his disapproving stare, I gave him an unintimidated look back. "I'm not a happy camper today," I stated flatly. "Some fat woman gave me an attitude today and I pointed at the sign that said 'We have the right to refuse service to anyone'. She threatened to file a case against us but when I told her that I noticed she parks at the handicap space without that blue tag, she shut up. She knew there's a security camera in front of the store and it takes pictures every ten minutes."
He smirked. "So you're going to sue?"
"No," I replied. I plopped on the nearest chair to his desk and raised my eyebrow. "Seriously speaking, this better be good. If I was an assassin, I'd say this would be my 'trigger happy day' so handle me with care."
Uncle raised his eyebrows in assent and gestured towards two men. "This is Attorney Rice and his client, Heero Yuy," he introduced dryly.
Oh shit... I didn't even know there were other people in the room!
The other people frowned at the tone of his voice, but I flushed. I knew exactly why he used that tone; they didn't need to know that it was meant for me. "Does the name Yuy ring a bell?"
Sorry to disappoint you, boys, but I have no idea who the hell that name belongs to. It seemed like they were under the assumption that I *knew* who that person was. The expectant look on their faces told me so. I decided to improvise. "Well, I guess. Not really. I think I saw it on the newspaper before, but I'm not sure."
Atty. Rice and Mr. Yuy looked disappointed, but Uncle J still looked expectant. This propelled me to think harder and once I did, I wish I hadn't: Yuy was one of the names that came out of daddy's mouth when he was closer to the final stages of Alzheimer's.
Come to think of it, I came to resent my deceased father-in-law, though I didn't know he was going to be my father-in-law just yet. I had to become the shadow behind that man. For crying out loud, was he the one who sat on daddy's lap at Afghanistan when they were fighting that war?
"I take that back." I looked at Heero and he looked back. "I know him." After making the statement, I knew the ball was still in my court. They were still waiting for me to say something more. "Well? Does he have to do with anything here? Is he directly related to Mr. Yuy?"
"He's my father," Heero replied. His masculine voice triggered something long-dormant in the frontal lobe of my brain. I groaned mentally, annoyed at myself. This was so not the time, Peacecraft!
"Well hell, who else could he be?" I asked again. This time, I made my sarcasm more obvious. "Now what? You're planning to sue daddy because he did something to your father during the war? He's dead! He's gone! You're not going to gain anything!" I hid my shock when Heero's dark features turned darker.
I felt Uncle J's hands grab me by the shoulders and shook me slightly. "Watch your words carefully, Relena. All of us have had a long day." I relaxed underneath his grip; only then did he release me with a pat on the shoulder. "Good girl. As Mr. Yuy said, Michael Shingo Yuy is his father." He left me and came back as quickly as he went away. "Here," Uncle J handed me an aged folder, "maybe you should read it yourself."
"Don't I need you to read it? There's probably some lawyers' jargon in here." I opened the folder roughly and handled it more gently when I recognized the elegant script on the papers. "Daddy's papers..."
He made a noise. "Nothing you can't handle, Relena. You have a degree in political science somewhere in your house, don't you?" For response, I just rolled my eyes. As if the whole world needed to know. "Oh, and if you blow your gasket, can you make sure I'm not in the way? This was your crazy father's idea, not mine."
Is it me or did that sound so darn ominous?
"I, Alexandros Ivanov Peacecraft, blah blah blah..." I read outloud. I knew this by heart! I was there when daddy wrote it! I turned to look at Uncle J to point out that blatant fact, but he urged me to read further with a fierce nod. "properties... blah... notwithstanding...blah..."
Wait a minute. Something's not right here.
Let me run that through again. I'm being forced to marry? My father is forcing me to marry some guy? Not some any other guy, but this Mike Shingle Yuy's son?! I looked at Uncle J.
He shrugged helplessly. "I told you it would be pretty self-explanatory as long as you showed up today."
This wasn't real. This was just some emotion induced dream. As the clock in the room ticked by, I regained my ability to feel things. I felt the sheet between my fingers. I felt my fingers crumpling against the paper. I felt the familiar stinging sensation in my eyes. I became acquainted with the anger, the rage, and the despair inside me once more. It was too much to take. It felt like I was experiencing a million things simultaneously and I was suddenly worried that my brain wouldn't be able to take much more of the sensory overload.
I saw the words on the paper swimming across my eyes. Maybe my tears helped to make the effect even stronger. However, they didn't fall. They didn't fall because I refused to let them fall. I refused because Heero Yuy rolled his eyes and I saw him. I knew at that instant that he didn't seem entirely pleased with the idea, either. I wasn't about to give him the pleasure of seeing me cry. I'll refuse him that.
"How soon can it take place?" I heard myself say. I didn't say anything else. I didn't even acknowledge the shocked look on the others' faces. There was nothing left to say.
I was powerless over the situation and I despised myself for it.
We were married about an hour later. Atty. Rice hastily placed a call for the state clerk and then they held the ceremony. I remember looking at his hands that held mine. His were large, alive, and warm; mine were pale, lanky, and cold. If our body temperatures were affected by what we were feeling, then I don't know what he was happy about.
Our "I do's" seemed to be as cold as my hands were. My "in sickness and in health" part were colder than liquid nitrogen, if that was possible. My words sounded hollow, so empty that I can swear they resonated within my head and the space that once held my heart. Couldn't they see? My father left me in this cursed jail they call life.
I died then, and because of this marriage, I died again.
"You may kiss the bride," the clerk stated proudly. His grin reached from ear to ear until he saw my glare. "I mean, Miss Peacecraft."
I looked at my "groom" evenly and he met my eyes in the same fashion. We both stood still as everyone around us seemed to anticipate "the big kiss". Shaking my head, I pulled my hands away. "This is ridiculous," I muttered to myself, though I was sure everyone heard me. The silence was one so pure, you might be able to hear a cat walking about in its stealthy manner. "We all know the situation here, so can we just skip this mush? Where are the documents we need to sign?"
As much as I tried to make myself detached to the situation, my subconscious self couldn't help but feel a bit wistful. The feeling heightened when I saw the words "Mrs. Relena Peacecraft-Yuy" underneath the signature line. I belonged to someone. I gave my promises of loyalty, faithfulness, and support to one man and one man alone. Do you realize how scary that sounded?
I walked out as soon as my signature was on the paper, Uncle J following beside me. "You're married. My god, you're married." He tried to slow me down by holding my arm, but I yanked it away violently. "You didn't even say good-bye to your husband?"
"He's only my husband on paper, uncle. Not by... you know. Heart," I said softly. Now that I left the room, I felt dirty all over. I just wanted to go home and scrub myself over, and over, and a million times over again. "Just drive us back to your office, please. I want to make this nightmare end."
We reached his car and when he opened his door, Uncle J made this "tsk tsk" sound. "Look what we have here." He handed an envelope addressed to me. "Wonder how they would have given that to you if I didn't have the windows partially down," he joked.
I eyed the envelope hopelessly and furiously, knowing that it came from my "hubby". What did they want now?! I all but tore the paper as I started to read.
We anticipated the probability that you were going to run out on us as soon as the ceremony was done. If you would please read the following requests made by my client, Mr. Heero Yuy:
1 That you resign from your day job
2 That you move out from your current residence and into Mr. Yuy's residence
I was blinded and shaking with rage. I didn't bother finishing the rest of the letter. Mindlessly, I tore the paper little by little until Uncle J stopped me. I stared at the pieces on my lap blankly. "Get me Heero Yuy's number, sir."
"Get me," I repeated, "Heero Yuy's number, sir."
The phone call I made to Heero when I got home was fruitless. He was adamant and the argument "Because we're married" became his standard comeback; mine was "Only on paper." He won at the end of our conversation and my deadline to get things straightened out was Friday afternoon.
Uncle J was present when the first argument we had as a "married couple" blew up. "I think that went well," he commented.
"You think?" I asked sweetly, giving him the cheesiest smile possible. I scowled a few moments later. "First he wants me to marry him. Now he wants me to move in with him. What's next? Sex?"
He raised his eyebrows. "That's possible. After all, he was a popular ladies' man."
"Well, they can have him. He can have as many mistresses as he pleases as long as he leaves me alone." I sighed, forcing myself to find some humor in the situation. "The least I could've had for this day was my fantasy when I was a really naive girl."
"Wear a nice white dress on my wedding." I pouted. "Can you believe I wore shorts and rubber shoes on my damn wedding?"