by For Eden
Chapter 8: Research is thy name
This "asking" business Motoki suggested had some merit to Mamoru's utmost surprise. Of course asking Usagi did involved the swallowing of one's pride (though Mamoru did admit that the blow of it was a lot less painful then when he realized that he was not cut out for becoming Britain's next suave and intelligent secret agent slash overall ladies' man) and admitting that he was indeed curious about his wife.
Naturally, Mamoru had lots of justifications for why he was so curious. He had to admit that after being married to Usagi for several months, Mamoru was starting to like the petite blonde. Usagi was lively, interesting, and was unlike the stuff engineers he worked with every day (save for Jadeite who managed to surprise him every day with his drug dealings and project completion while playing Spider Solitaire for what seemed like every second of the day).
Since their marriage, there was rarely a boring moment in Mamoru's life (headaches, however, were a common occurrence). His mother, to Mamoru's absolute dismay, had done a great job with picking out a girl for him. Tsukino (now Chiba) Usagi made more money than the senior engineer did, was undeniably attractive and cute, had a warm, loving personality (save the time she spent with Kunzite), and was a rather easy going, mild manner girl. In short, Usagi was an enormous catch.
This realization (yes, it did take him more than six months of cohabitation with the bubbly girl for him to conclude this) befuddled Mamoru. Being such an ideal candidate for love, marriage, and forever-more, Usagi should not have lacked suitors. Rather, Mamoru could imagine the number of men that waited for to glance over in their direction so that they could swoop down and sweep her off her feet.
However, rather than going after one of the men who must have relentlessly pursued her, Usagi signed herself to a blind marriage matching service and followed through with marrying a stranger who did not even know about it. Aoi's marriage matching service was one that he could only imagine that desperate men, women and annoying mothers enrolled in.
Why in earth did she marry him then? It was a question that puzzled him so much that he broke and asked her about it when she somehow managed to climb into his lap, MacBook in front of her (online shopping, once again – usurping more space from his closet one click at a time).
Usagi did not bother to sneak a look at him when she answered. Her brows were furrowed together in deep concentration in trying to solve the problem of whether she wanted this cute strappy dress in whisper violet or berry pop.
"Mmmm, I did it for research."
"Aoi Agency commissioned a promotional article about their service and process. I normally would say no to write promotional pieces, however the owner of Aoi Agency happens to be my cousin. There was no way I could tell him no. I decided to make the most of it and try and dabble a bit in writing an investigational piece – I never did one before. I was not dating anyone at the time and your mother nearly had a nervous breakdown when she came to the agency bawling about you when I was looking at candidates. You are quite the difficult son, I heard."
Mamoru balked at the blonde who decided to go with berry pop for her new dress.
"You got married to a stranger to write an article?"
"Mostly," Usagi confirmed her purchase before putting the notebook on the coffee table.
"I also figured this would be a good opportunity to gather some material to develop a plot bunny I had in my head but never quite wrote. I did not expect you to be such a great material though. You like the best thing that has happened to me!"
She threw her arms around him, cuddling up close around him. He ignored the way she smelt like cream and lilacs and instead processed the information she had just released to him.
"You're… writing about me?"
"No silly," she shot him a smile that made his heart freeze for a moment. "You're an engineer – there is not a lot of material you bring to the floor. Though you are a bit quirky, buying out newsstands to make sure your friends don't turn in it. However, all you ever do is mope around the house, play video games, and clean up after me."
"Then what is it that you write about?"
"The things you don't do and the people I've met through you. Your mother is wonderful, she's been a great inspiration for this minor character I have in my series. Then there's your coworker Jadeite, who was sort of the highlight of my story until Kunzite made me cut him out, damn him. Jadeite is a hoot; we go bowling every Thursday and even get drinks after with a few friends. Then there is that sweet and funny Persian man two doors down. He's like a grandfather I wish I had …"
Apparently he wasn't good enough to be 007 and he wasn't as interesting as the cranky 73 years old down the hall that would scare off children who tried to Trick-or-Treat at his door on Halloween with a beat up wooden cane.
"I'm just kidding, I write about you all the time." She said it in a tone of voice that didn't even try to be convincing.
Mamoru sulked, "You're just saying that to make me feel better."
It was the pat on the head she gave him that affirmed it.
Mamoru spent a lot of time living with Usagi and seeing her in various stages of dress and undress, witnessing her range of behaviors move from elegant to bratty (the latter being the byproduct of being in the presence of an annoying, silver haired man), and learning whatever he could about her without trying to appear overtly curious (he failed), Mamoru came to realized that Usagi casted a spell on him with everything that she was. It was a spell that had him doing all the housework, letting his apartment get invaded by four beautiful girls and one irate male, and letting his bachelor pad turn into a girly library with flowers, coasters and trinkets …
He was completely bewitched.
Mamoru felt a shudder go down his spine as the witch wrapped her arms around him, cherry lips touching his to give it a butterfly kiss.
"Is this love?" His voice was raspy, breathless from his hunger from her. She gave him a stunning smile at his words, her eyes misty and her expression was so serene … he kissed her deeply before guiding her into bed. They fell together, trapped in one another's embrace.
"It's more than that."
He didn't think any more on it. Instead, he let his arms slide across her body, enjoying the way the rough fibers of cotton were replaced by the silky texture of bare skin.
After months of freedom from his mother (god bless secondary to do list that involve leaving the country for long periods of time and not being able to harass your only son with selfish demands!), his parents came back and were now reinstating weekly dinners.
The feeling of doom didn't weight upon his shoulder as it used to as he let Usagi joyfully chatter and skip up the stairs to the house. She stopped before ringing the doorbell to turn around and smile brilliantly at her. His heart flopped and he let his right hand grab onto hers, melding her smooth hand with his larger, rougher ones.
As usual, it was his mother that opened the door.
"Mamoru! Usagi!" His mother joyfully greeted them, giving them a bear hug before ushering them both in. Soon after Mamoru found himself abandoned by his wife in the family room while she headed off the kitchen to "help" his mother with the food (Usagi helping in the kitchen had always lead to a mini-disaster). Mamoru sat at the love seat while his father lounged in his chair, eyes glued at the local sports channel.
Mamoru watched half-interested before his eyes caught on the object of his worst nightmares. His mother's to do list. It was strategically placed in the center of the table where not even a remote or drink cup sat on. Mamoru grabbed the list off the table and scanned it.
On the top of the list, was the words "Marry off Mamoru" that had been highlighted, circled, and written in permanent marker. From what he also noticed was that it had been crossed off since the last time he saw the list. Underneath that task was a new addition to the list. It was one word, also written in permanent market, though not highlighted or circled … yet.
Taking out a pen from his right pocket, Mamoru crossed it off the list with two straight lines. His father sent his son a sympathetic look.
"I don't think she can interfere with this one son…"
Mamoru shook his head, a smug look on his face. "No, I'm just crossing off what I already accomplished."
Notes for this chapter:
I. Mamoru is such a weird boy. The fault lies at his homeroom's teacher for encouraging him to become an engineer.
II. This was never meant to be a romance story. That is why the entire "in love" part was so short.
III. I spent a lot of time trying to think up more to this story. However, when I was writing a family dinner scene, the ending came to mind and I realized that it was time to say goodbye…
After many years, Trapped! is now complete. I started writing Trapped! when my interest in Sailor Moon was beginning to fade. Many years later, the last chapter of the story has been written and my interest in the fandom has been rekindled. I'm a bit sad though that the fandom and the remnant of the fandom is no longer how it once was. However, I have found some great fics that I enjoy reading and will try and will myself to write more Sailor Moon fics in a more timely fashion.
Thank you to everyone who has reviewed this fic. I feel overjoyed every time I receive a new review in my inbox. I hope you enjoyed my story.