Point One: Someone else created the Gundam Wing characters. I'm only borrowing them.
Point Two: I like romance, so I am writing a sappy romance with some drama on the side. No juvenile humor this time around.
Point Three: If you have read my other fanfictions, this is not a sequel or prequel or anything between. I treated Dorothy and Quatre so badly in my previous fanfiction that I wanted to give them a story.
Point Four: I hope you enjoy
Earth Sphere United Nation Headquarters
"...At eight o'clock, the foreign minister has a press conference scheduled to announce details of his recent trip to Colony L4, in particular the results of his negotiations with the terrorists who hijacked the shuttle."
"I will assume that the public relations director himself will handle that press conference." Dorothy Catalonia, deputy public relations director of the Earth Sphere United Nations Alliance, was checking messages on her telecom as she listened to her assistant review the daily agenda. Scanning the many messages, she didn't noticed anything unusual at first, then as she looked further down the list, she noticed one with a red flag, and seeing who it was from, she frowned and pursed her lips.
"Is there something wrong?" asked her assistant, Tracy James, a highly competent woman who was several years older than Dorothy's twenty-five.
Dorothy glanced at her. "Will you please arrange a meeting for me with Vice Foreign minister Darlian as soon as possible?"
Tracy nodded and walked out. Dorothy opened the message and glared at the screen as she read the words:
I know you are expecting me to attend the charity ball on behalf of the Earth Sphere United Nations, but I am not feeling well today and I really don't think I can make it through it. I know you will do an admirable job standing in for me. Relena
The telecom buzzed, and when Dorothy took the call, she was not surprised that Tracy had quickly arranged for a meeting with Relena Darlian within the hour despite the busy schedule of the Vice Foreign Minister. Dorothy drummed her fingers on her desk as she punched in another number, which connected her with the chief of special covert operations.
"Miss Catalonia, what can I do for you?"
She stared straight at his face. "I'm going to get right to the point, Bill. Has Heero Yuy returned from his latest assignment?"
"You know I can't answer such questions. His whereabouts are classified."
Dorothy glared at him. "I have clearance to know that kind of information."
Bill Morley shifted uncomfortably in his chair, then answered, "He returned late last night."
Dorothy pressed the button to close the communication, then picked up her portfolio and walked out of her office, telling Tracy that she would be meeting with Relena Darlian. Tracy was wise enough not to question her when she was in as sour a mood as Dorothy presently was. The charity ball was one of the most important public relations events of the year, given to raise money to aid orphans of the many conflicts in the poorer regions of the United Earth Sphere. Dorothy could not believe that Relena would miss it!
Relena's secretary didn't try to stop her, but hurried to open the door for her, and Dorothy found the Vice Foreign minister sitting behind her desk rubbing her temples. "I had a feeling I'd be seeing you this morning."
Dorothy waited for the door to close behind her before she spoke. "Don't bother lying to me, Relena. I know damn well that Heero Yuy is in the city, and my guess is that it is not for long or you wouldn't even think about not attending the charity ball."
"I have a migraine," Relena told her with a straight face. "These things only get worse."
Narrowing her eyes, Dorothy frowned at her, then said, "You simply must attend. I have no intention of replacing you. The people attending will be expecting the queen of the world..."
"You give me too much credit," Relena interrupted her with a smile. "And you may as well save your breath, Dorothy, because I have already discussed the matter with the public relations director and he agreed that you would be a suitable substitute. You are well acquainted with all the regular people who gather at these functions and can probably pry open their wallets better than I."
"I am not going," stated Dorothy. She didn't want to go. She wouldn't go. She couldn't go.
"I don't suppose the fact that Quatre Winner will be there has anything to do with your refusal," commented Relena slyly.
Pursing her lips together tightly, Dorothy did not respond. The last thing she wanted to do was to discuss Quatre Winner with Relena.
"I hope you have a gown for such an occasion," said Relena with ill-concealed glee. "And I expect you to give me a full account of the event, at least what won't be reported in the media."
Dorothy spun on her heel and marched to the door.
"Don't forget to give my regards to Quatre. I haven't seen him in years, not since his wedding."
As she walked back to her office, Dorothy tried not to think about Quatre Winner, but that was all that she could think about with each step she took. She especially did not want to think about the last time she had seen Quatre Winner, when she hadn't any clue that he was considering marriage to another woman. Had she known, she wouldn't have become involved with him to such a foolish degree. The affair had left a scar on her heart. Since the day he walked out of her life, she hadn't allowed herself to get close to any man. Very few actually knew what had happened between her and Quatre five years ago, and Dorothy preferred to keep it that way, not even telling Relena.
After leaving Relena's office, she attended the morning meeting with the public relations director during which he informed the entire staff that Dorothy would be attending the charity ball in Relena Darlian's place. Nobody had an objection, so Dorothy didn't bother voicing her own. When she did return to her office, Dorothy asked Tracy to make an appointment with a designer, then she left a message with her date for the evening, Randolph Morrison, to inform him of the change in their plans. Instead of a quiet dinner at an exclusive restaurant, they would be surrounded by hundreds of people, dressed in extremely uncomfortable clothing. Randolph would take the change with good grace, which was far from what Dorothy was feeling at this moment.
Once she was seated behind her desk, the appointment set for the afternoon with a dress designer then a hairdresser, Dorothy drummed her fingers on her immaculate desktop, staring at the blank screen of her computer. Although there were press releases to be prepared and public relations opportunities to arrange, Dorothy couldn't bring herself to do any work. The thought that she would see Quatre was bad enough, but there was the very real possibility that she would have to speak to him. Dorothy didn't know if she was ready for that, not even after five years.
Although she was angry with herself for doing so, Dorothy keyed in the information to call up the file on Quatre Raberba Winner. Dorothy knew everything about him already, that he was the richest man in the solar system, that his business enterprises continued to grow exponentially, that his companies employed millions throughout the colonies and Earth. Five years ago he had married the daughter of one of his executive officers, Hassan Barak, who since then had taken a position to oversee large portions of the Winner financial empire. With the exotically beautiful Sadirah Barak, Quatre had a daughter, now four years old. Although there were many pictures of Quatre and his stunning wife, Dorothy couldn't find a single picture of Jamila Winner. Dorothy imagined her with the dark hair and eyes of her mother, another beauty in the making. Quatre was probably very proud of his daughter and guarded her privacy. Dorothy would do the same, if she had a child.
Before she could dwell on the subject and invite a fit of depression, Dorothy shut down her computer, grabbed her purse and left the office. On the way to the dress designer's shop, she stopped by the investment firm where Randolph worked. She wasn't sure why she wanted to invite him to lunch when they both usually worked through lunch, but Dorothy thought it might be nice to have some company. However, his secretary informed her that Mr. Morrison was in meetings all morning and would be taking a working lunch with a client.
So Dorothy went alone to the restaurant, and the maitre d' didn't bat an eye to see her without an escort. He led her to a table, made his knowledgeable recommendations, and then left her with a glass of Chablis as she awaited her meal.
"Are you waiting for someone?"
Dorothy looked up from her glass of wine and was barely able to conceal her surprise. She had come to Barbados to get away from everyone who knew her, to have some time to herself. The truth of the matter was that Dorothy realized she was completely alone, her family gone through the fault of their own greedy machinations. Dorothy had almost suffered the same fate on the White Fang, but somehow she managed to survive. Her escape seemed to demonstrate her own weakness that in the end she had betrayed her family by preferring to live rather than die for their ideals. She needed time to sort out what had become of her life.
"May I join you?"
He was still waiting, not taking her silence as an answer. "Do what you want, Quatre Raberba Winner."
As he slid onto the seat opposite her, he signaled to a waiter who quickly brought a glass to him. At first Dorothy thought he might be drinking wine too and relegated him to the status of hypocrite when she knew his beliefs forbade the consumption of alcohol, but when the waiter refilled his glass she saw that it was white grape juice.
"So what are you doing in Barbados, Mr. Winner?" she asked after taking a sip of her wine.
He raised a brow. "I might ask the same of you, Miss Dorothy."
His voice was deeper than she remembered, and the way he said her name struck a chord inside her. Not wanting to acknowledge any kind of attraction to the former gundam pilot, she took a longer drink from her wine, prompting the waiter to step forward to refill her goblet.
"I am here on business," he told her, then added, "And maybe a little pleasure."
What did that mean? Dorothy's mouth felt dry and she hated this feeling of not being in control of the Winner runt. Runt? Quatre Winner wasn't a runt anymore. How long had it been since she had seen the boy last, after the defeat of Dekim Barton? Two years? Quatre wasn't a boy anymore. He had added some inches to his height, some mass to his form. His lean, darkly tanned face had certainly left boyhood behind. The look in his blue eyes as he gave her the same silent perusal made her shiver with a wicked pleasure that she tried to deny.
"You haven't answered my question, Miss Dorothy," he reminded her.
His blond brows were arched as he waited for her answer. "I am on vacation," she told him. She didn't actually have nor need a job from which to take a vacation, but it seemed like the right thing to say.
"Are you alone?" he asked, those brows still raised in question.
Would she ever be anything other than alone now that her family was gone?
"I don't think that is any of your business," she all but snapped at him, seizing her glass and drinking more. If she drank enough, he might get disgusted enough to leave her to her self-pity.
Quatre signaled to the waiter who quickly came to him. When Quatre asked for the check, Dorothy was relieved he was leaving, but she became angry when he insisted on paying for her drinks and tossing a credit card to the waiter.
After signing the receipt, he rose. "Let's go."
"Go?" she repeated, glaring at the hand he held out to her. "I haven't eaten yet."
"On the way here, I saw an outdoor restaurant that serves those drinks with umbrellas."
"You don't drink alcohol," she reminded him tartly. Dorothy wasn't really considering going anywhere with Quatre Winner, but the hand he still held out to her really was inviting.
"That isn't the point, Miss Dorothy. I'm a little tired of these elegant restaurants that are the same wherever I go. Why bother having a vacation in Barbados if you aren't going to do anything different?"
Her heart was pounding erratically in her chest as Dorothy realized this might be a defining moment in her life. She could stay and continue her routine uneventful existence, or she could take the chance that there was something better for her.
As she took his hand, their eyes met, and she felt swept away.
"We may wish to consider seriously suspending operations on the L4 colony until the issues the extremist rebels have with the government have been resolved."
Perusing the latest report from his home colony, Quatre Winner glanced up to look at his father-in-law. Hassan Barak met his gaze with what Quatre would only term as unfeeling dark eyes, so much like his daughter's that Quatre preferred to look at his report. "I don't think I need to remind you that economic conditions on L4 are strained as it is."
"Another reason to suspend operations. The insurance rates for those enterprises have skyrocketed and costs of doing business there had quadrupled since the current administration took office. We can't afford to keep throwing money down the drain there." Quatre could feel Barak's gaze steady on him, so he turned his head to look out the tinted glass window of the limousine carrying him through the city. He wondered what his father would do in this situation. Barak had known his father, had worked for him for many years, and yet Quatre often wondered if he actually understood the Winner family ideals.
"We employ ten thousand people on L4," Quatre said without looking at the older man. He wished he were walking among the people going about their everyday lives, without the responsibilities that came with wealth and power.
"We have to consider the financial health of the company," argued Barak.
Quatre closed his eyes and rubbed them with his thumb and forefinger. At this rate he was going to have a headache even before returning to the hotel to change for the charity ball. "I'm not going to put ten thousand people out of work at a time when they desperately need income."
"You're making a mistake." Barak snapped his portfolio shut just as the limousine pulled to a stop before the hotel.
Quatre looked at his tight-lipped father-in-law. "I shouldn't have to remind you that those types of mistakes are mine to make." He started to exit the limousine as soon as the doorman opened the door, but Barak seized his arm.
"You are wrong, Quatre. If you continue to make business decisions using your heart instead of your head, you may find yourself losing everything we have gained in the last five years. I have to consider my daughter and my granddaughter. I would rather you didn't turn them into beggars because you have a soft heart."
Sighing, Quatre conceded a little to appease the other man. "I will look into your suggestion further. But I would rather it be the last step."
A couple of guards followed Quatre from the limousine to the hotel and up to the penthouse suite where they positioned themselves outside his door. Although he hadn't been personally threatened, Barak insisted that they were a necessity given the unpredictable behavior of the extremist rebels on L4. Quatre felt more like a prisoner than a man whose life was being guarded from possible terrorist attacks.
Entering the suite, he could hear the tinkling of piano music, played with little skill, a few notes missed in a rather easy song. Quatre pulled off his jacket and tossed it over a chair then undid the cuffs to his shirt and rolled them up as he slid onto the piano bench next to the aspiring virtuoso at the grand piano.
"I can almost play it, papa!" His beautiful four-year-old daughter tilted her face up to his, and he kissed her cheek. Her soft golden curls bounced as she turned her attention back to the ivory keys. She made several mistakes during her recital, but Quatre felt his heart swell with joy as he watched her concentrate.
With her blond hair and blue eyes, Jamila didn't resemble her Barak family at all, and for that Quatre was quite glad. There were times that he could almost pretend that she was unrelated to her mother and grandfather. Through the years Quatre had come to realize that they were rather heartless and selfish. Quatre wasn't even exactly sure how he had become involved with Sadirah, waking up one morning, his head pounding, and the beautiful daughter of his father's friend naked in his bed with him. He didn't remember taking advantage of her although she was quite distraught and embarrassed. Quatre wished he knew how they ended up in bed together.
He remembered the dinner party welcoming her home to L4 for vacation from school, that he had been more than a little depressed after his trip to Barbados. While talking to Barak about the events after the dinner party, the older man gave him a glass of fine brandy, and although he refused at first, Quatre found that the burning liquid dulled the pain in his heart. He and Barak spoke for almost an hour, the older man giving him the sound advice his father might have had he been alive. On the way to his room, he ran into Sadirah. She was so different from the woman he had left behind in Barbados that he must have found her impossible to resist, even if just to get back at Dorothy Catalonia. Quatre didn't remember any details, but Sadirah was so ashamed that she went out of her way to avoid seeing him for the remainder of her vacation. Quatre was sure that her father didn't discover what had happened before she left the colony to return to school on Earth in Switzerland.
Quatre had thought that was an end to another regrettable event in his life until several months later Barak was embarrassed to inform him that his daughter had to leave the school he worked so hard to afford for her because she was pregnant. When Barak told Quatre that Sadirah refused to name the father, Quatre got a rather unpleasant feeling in his gut. If he were the baby's father, he wouldn't shirk his responsibility to help raise it, and telling Barak about the mistake he had made with his daughter was the hardest thing he had ever done. Hassan Barak wasn't sympathetic with his daughter whom he reasoned should have behaved better. Her father had insisted on the paternity tests for the baby girl they had brought back from Earth. All of the tests had proven that Quatre was the baby's father with no margin for error. He married Sadirah hoping to make a family, to make an amends for his mistake.
But they were a family of only two. Sadirah rarely bothered with her daughter, focusing instead on her own selfish pursuits. As for her father, Barak was so concerned with enriching the Winner fortunes, which were now tied to his own, that he had little time for his granddaughter. As a result, Jamila spent most her time with a succession of nannies when Quatre could not be with her. When Jamila grew too close to a nanny, Sadirah would become jealous and promptly dismiss the woman. Although she didn't seem to want to be a mother, she did not want another woman to fill the role. Sadirah had no maternal instinct and had made very clear to Quatre that she had no intention of suffering the pains of childbirth again.
"Will you play a song for me, papa?" asked Jamila, her limpid blue eyes wide and begging.
"How about Chopin?" Quatre cracked his knuckles which made his daughter giggle, then he began to play a relaxing melody. He was so intent on entertaining Jamila that he didn't hear the door open.
"Mama!" cried Jamila, her voice mingling apprehension and delight. Quatre hated that note in her voice more than anything. The little girl wanted her mother's love desperately, but Sadirah didn't seem capable of sparing even an iota of affection for her own child.
Quatre stopped playing and turned as he stood to look at her. Sadirah was a very beautiful woman, with rich dark hair, chocolate brown eyes and olive skin. There wasn't a man in the same room as her who could keep his eyes off the petite, slender woman with enough curves to attract a eunuch. She had celebrated her twenty-first birthday only a few weeks ago, so she was only now beginning to bloom with her full beauty. Quatre should have been proud to claim such a woman as his wife.
Sadirah didn't look at Jamila as she handed her coat and purse to a maid who waited for her to draw off her gloves. "I saw my father in the lobby," she commented without looking at Quatre.
He pursed his lips for a moment tightly, then softened his expression as he turned back to Jamila. "Why don't you find Nanny Atifah? I will come to see you before I leave for the charity ball." Before she left, he kissed her cheek, and when she had disappeared into another room down the hall in the spacious suite, Quatre turned to look at his wife. "You father should not discuss business with you."
Sadirah tossed back her unbound dark hair. "He thought I should know of the foolish business decisions that you are making which might affect my future welfare."
"At least your father had the sense to include my daughter in his concern for the future."
"I am quite sure you have taken steps to insure her financial future." She met his gaze levelly.
"As I am quite sure you have taken steps to ensure your own financial future," he remarked.
For a moment she didn't respond, then she looked hurt. "I am only concerned about our daughter's future." The door opened behind her, and Rashid, Quatre's faithful former Maganac leader, entered the suite followed by several bellhops carrying bags from posh stores in the exclusive shopping district of the city. As Sadirah directed the traffic, Quatre took the opportunity to step out of the suite onto the balcony where he drew out a thin cigar from a slim golden case he had withdrawn from his jacket. He waited a moment before he felt another presence, then a flame flickered from a lighter, which Quatre used to light the cigar. He smoked for several moments in as much silence as he could have, high above the city, his wife's faint voice in the background as she ordered the bellhops. Quatre was content to watch the sky darken as he enjoyed his cigar.
Finally, he glanced to his side where Rashid stood silently contemplating the same sky. "You didn't have any trouble today?"
"None, unless you count the legions of dogs sniffing after your wife."
"Did she take an interest in any of those dogs?"
"Master Quatre, she would not be so foolish to encourage another man in front of me." Rashid did not smile as he met Quatre's gaze. "She has too much to lose."
Quatre glanced back into the suite to see that Sadirah was holding up gowns and jewels, a look of pure rapture on her face. As if sensing his gaze, she looked toward him and the smile faltered just for a moment, then she tossed aside the gown and diamond necklace as if they were trinkets and headed toward him.
Rashid bowed his head respectfully and left before she came to take his hand. "We have a little time before the charity ball. Let me model what I have bought."
Quatre stubbed out the cigar on a crystal ashtray and allowed her to lead him back into the suite. "Let me get Jamila. She will enjoy the show."
His wife laughed huskily. "This won't be a show for her eyes."
Although he wanted to refuse, Quatre couldn't give up on the hope that being intimate with her might make Sadirah soften toward their daughter. But he suspected no matter what he did, she could not feel love for Jamila because despite all that Sadirah had gained from her marriage to Quatre, she could not erase the shame of bearing her child without a husband. And Quatre could not give up completely on this marriage, because that might hurt Jamila far more than her mother's disdain. Despite her lack of feelings for her daughter, Sadirah would not walk away from Quatre without her. If keeping a wife that didn't love him or their child was the only way to have his daughter, then Quatre would do so.