Title: Sweet Revenge
Author: Silent Figure
Disclaimer: Do not own nor will ever own the characters used in this story though the story is completely mine.
Light spilled across the room illuminating a figure sleeping on a couch. A figure that was sleeping so deeply and serenely that one would have thought that she was thee sleeping beauty. BRING! BRING! BRING! Blue eyes snapped open in surprise, fear, and utter confusion. Serena rolled over quickly, thinking that she was in her bed, but soon found herself flat on her back on her living room floor. The phone kept ringing and it took all of her self-control not to jump up and throw the portable phone against the wall, for waking her up from what seemed like the best sleep of her life. Instead she crawled to her near by coffee table where the phone sat and answered it with a tired, "Hello."
"So did you sleep with him", asked a very anxious and excited Raye on the other end of the line.
Serena groaned and growled out, "Jesus Christ Raye, you called me at dawn for this? I'll have you know I am missing out on valuable sleep."
"Don't you have work in like what two hours? So what if you miss two hours of sleep, your duty is to fill me in girl."
Serena gritted her teeth and said, "First Raye this obsession of yours is getting a bit out of hand. I'm starting to worry about your concept of reality", Serena heard Raye scoff and attempt to interrupt but Serena continued, "Second I will have you know we are on a truce. And I'm not going to ruin this newfound deeply desired by all friendship by sleeping with him and adding myself to the long list of women he's slept with and possibly contracting VD in said process. He was over here last night because he was just dropping off my cell phone that I left at the office like the supposed gentleman that he is."
"You sure seem to leave a lot of things at the office. Soooo friendship, that's what the kids are calling these days huh?"
Serena shook her head and rolled her eyes before replying, "Raye I don't know if you are bored, deaf, dumb, crazy, or whatever but stop wasting my time with your snooping into a secret affair that isn't even happening. You seem to be so obsessed with me sleeping with Darien. Maybe you still want to. By all means help yourself."
Raye imitated a gasp of horror before saying flatly, "I would never sleep with Darien. What little fooling around we did in high school proves to me that I made the right choice sexually or otherwise in Jed. Besides you two make such a cute couple, I don't know why you would deny that you love the man let alone like him."
Serena pulled the phone away from her ear giving it a brief look that revealed how crazy she thought Raye was, she just wished Raye could've seen it, before returning the phone to her ear. "Ok Raye I do not love Darien, I barely am starting to like him as a person. Now leave me the hell alone so I can get my sleep", with that said she hung up on her.
Growling Serena climbed back onto her couch and snuggled into the cushions. But alas fate would not give her, her sleep for the phone rang again. "Not. Happening. Again", muttered Serena to herself as she tried to ignore the shrill ringing of the phone.
She, however, could not ignore the obnoxious sound and so she picked the phone back up again and growled out an, "What?"
"Well you sound happy", came the very smooth voice of the very man who had been the topic of her conversation with Raye.
"I still have time to sleep Darien, why are you calling me", Serena practically whined but his immediate chuckle told her she was definitely out of luck.
"I'm afraid to say that I am indeed calling to tell you I need you to come in early today. It's the Blake's, again. Reika called me last night she'd like to meet with us alone", he replied trying to sound sympathetic, but laugher could still very much be heard in his voice.
Serena simply hung her head in defeat before her rational brain took over. This could be insightful, meeting with just Reika. "Meh. Fine. I hope you know how badly I want to kill you right now. Though I guess I should blame Reika for my lack of beauty sleep", she half muttered as she stood up and trudged toward the bathroom.
"Serena you don't need it. What you do need is to learn to adjust to the morning and getting up early, which you should be able to do by now. How did you ever survive law school", Darien asked.
Serena yawned, "As many PM classes as possible", and then stopped in her tracks as she realized, "Did you just inadvertently call me pretty?"
"I am sure I don't know what you are talking about. Get yourself some heavily caffeinated coffee and get into the office as soon as you can. I'll see you there."
"Darien, I may not be a morning person but I am not so tired as to not catch your off handed compliment or your deflection."
"See you soon Serena", Darien replied in an annoyed sing songy voice before hanging up the phone on her.
With a sigh she set her phone on her bathroom sink, looked in the mirror and saw the bags under her eyes. "Yeah…you need your beauty sleep", she said to herself with a groan
Forty-five minutes later she had had a hurried shower, downed some Keurig brewed coffee, completed a quick make up session, and found herself walking through her work doors. She found Darien waiting for her at her desk, an intense look of concentration on his face. He was looking down at her notepad when she came to stand before him. Leaning forward and placing her hands on the desk she playfully asked, "So on a scale of 1 to 10 just how pretty do you think I am?"
Darien took a long moment to look up which immediately made her think she was in trouble, or that she might have overstepped her boundaries on their little truce. "Hey I got here as fast I could, traffic was crazy", Serena immediately went into excuse mode, raising her hands up in defense.
His lips pressed into a thin line before he spoke seriously, "I'm afraid our meeting was canceled, about ten minutes before you walked in."
Serena wasn't expecting that as his response. It was a bit off putting and a bit to process. She stood straight up, hands on her hips, trying to decide how to respond. Before she could Darien continued, "Her Dad was the one who called in to cancel."
That immediately caused her eyebrows to knit in brief confusion. Darien sighed again, and ran a hand over his face leaning back into the chair, setting aside the notes that Serena recognized as the ones she'd taken from the day before. They both shared a look of concern as they thought over that information. "I tried to call her private cell phone number, she didn't answer her phone. Diamond did, claimed she was in the shower and that everything her father said was true", Darien continued with his story. The look of concern didn't leave Serena's face.
Now it was Serena's turn to sigh as she half sat on her desk, crossing her own arms. "Darien this doesn't sound good at all", Serena finally admitted meeting his eyes again.
He just simply nodded his head in agreement. "It doesn't. But they are our clients. For now, anyway. We'll keep this on the down low until we get more information. Try to get close to Reika", Darien replied standing up and walking around her desk.
Serena nodded her head. "If I get a chance", she agreed. Darien started to walk into his office but was halted when he heard his name, "Darien?"
He turned around expectantly. "Are you going about this, this way for Andrew", Serena had to ask.
"It's my job to get all the facts. Look Serena it's actually going to be a busy day today, so it's good we came in early. I have a list of stuff to do", Darien answered.
She couldn't help but feel grim about this situation, all of it, whether it was from Reika's position, Andrew's, or even Darien's. It was awkward enough that Darien was representing his friend's wife, but at least when he took the case he thought it was a woman willingly leaving a man, now it seemed that, that wasn't really the case. The phone ringing interrupted her dreary thoughts. "Hello Darien Shields' office, this is his assistant attorney how may I help you?"
"By giving me your address so I can pick you up tonight", asked a very charming voice that Serena recognized to be Seiya's.
Serena bit her lip as she remembered agreeing to a date only the day before, she had completely forgotten about it. "Oh I live on Ascendant road way, the apartment building 3824, on the seventh floor, apartment 22."
"Awesome I'll be there to pick you up…say six?"
"Yes that'd be great. Casual, fancy, or normal", she asked thinking about what it was she could wear for her date.
"I'd say kind of fancy, kind of casual. Personally I think you'd look great in anything."
Serena smiled and shook her head. 'Oh so original', she thought sarcastically to herself. "Well then I can't wait for tonight, but I'm afraid I have quite a lot of work to get started on right now", Serena replied trying to sound as enthusiastic as he did.
"Well I hope my cousin isn't working you too hard. Catch you later tonight."
"Bye", Serena replied sweetly before hanging up the phone with a sigh. A guy was the perfect distraction from work and… her very strange thoughts of Darien. Groaning Serena rested her head on her arms.
The tiredness she had felt last night came rushing back to her and suddenly all she wanted to do was cancel her date, go home and sleep, however, she needed to get out of her house and get a life, dying alone wasn't necessarily a part of her life plan. Sleepily she made up her mind that she'd go. It felt like she had only blinked but next thing she knew she heard her name being called and a couple of light taps to her shoulder. Jerking up, she sniffed a bit, rubbing her eyes and refocused her blurry eyesight on Darien who was looking at her expectantly and obviously trying to keep the grin off of his face. "I thought you'd outgrown this", he teased.
"You have only yourself to blame for this. You keep making me get up an extra hour early", Serena grumbled, stretching her arms out before yawning.
"Mmmm unfortunately getting called in early is under your job description. Did you even read the contract your father had you sign?"
Serena gave him a sleepy glare, "Yes", she drawled out at the same time he interjected, "No you didn't."
"Fine I didn't. Ok? My Dad was the one who drew it up he wouldn't screw me over", Serena conceded.
"It must be nice", Darien commented earning yet another glare from her. She sighed with finality and put her hand out for which Darien dropped the aforementioned list of tasks for her to complete for the day.
Looking over it Serena tilted her head back as she groaned. It was incredibly long. "You suck", Serena moaned.
"I told you it was going to be a busy day today", Darien said with that snarky all knowing voice that drove her crazy.
It took a lot of her will not to open her mouth and retort in the good old fashioned way they were used to. They were doing pretty good, she wasn't about to be the one to end the cease fire and therefore to blame. "You are really struggling to be nice right now aren't you", Darien teased.
Her eyes narrowed even further. "Maybe", she replied her lips tight as her answer came out of the corner of her mouth.
"If it makes you feel better I'm going to be just as busy as you. Just have different tasks to do. You can start with these", he said dropping a stack of folders she hadn't noticed were in his hands, "We are going to need a copy for every one of these briefs after they've been checked for typos, if they have typos, they need to be redone. No white out I'm afraid. Most of these should be saved on our database for some reprint, but for the copies we need to use the copy machine, saves us 10 cents or something. Then lastly, they need to be in chronological order. Most should be, but chances are they all aren't."
Serena looked down at the huge folders that he had given to her with mild dismay. "It's for a major case of mine coming up. Opposing counsel needs this stuff", Darien explained hoping to soften the blow. Serena just looked up at him with a grimace, it didn't make it any better.
"Can I pass this off to Niko and you give me something interesting instead", Serena tried to bargain.
He just chuckled and shook his head. "Have fun", was his only reply before he started walking back into his office.
"I think I'd rather drag a dull blunt object across my throat", Serena grumbled thinking Darien hadn't heard her but his chuckle let her know he had. With a sigh she set about her work.
Hours later, Serena sighed and picked up the folders she had worked so hard on. In fact she had even skipped her lunch so she could get as much done on the list and them as possible. After working hard and focusing on nothing else she had done everything Darien had required her to do on the list and was almost done with the huge folders except for making copies of the papers. Standing up she stretched, trying to get all of the kinks out of her body before walking to the copy machine room with the three huge folders in her arms. Serena placed the maximum amount of papers from the first folder in the feed tray before pressing the copy button. It took her forty minutes just to get through the first two folders, due to some technical issues, changing ink, etc, and she still had the biggest of the folders to go through which was the same size as the first two folders combined. Sighing she repeated the same process she had been doing for the past forty minutes, beginning with putting seventy five pages in the feed tray before pressing the copy button. Serena walked over to a chair that sat by the door and sat down; exhausted from the days mental exertions and the lack of sleep she had had during the week she leaned her head against the wall and closed her eyes. At that moment Darien decided to walk in, the sound of his foot steps causing her to open her eyes. "Sleeping again", Darien asked a smile on his face. She just shook her head at him. "No and if you have come here to add to this overly large pile of useless information and unreadable law jargon then you sir may not make it home alive", Serena warned.
"No actually I'm just making some copies of my own, before I head home", he replied in between his chuckles.
"You're going home early? That's unlike you", Serena stated her head still leaning against the wall she'd come to rest against while she waited for her copies to finish.
"Mina called. Says she has reservations to this incredibly hard to get into restaurant and her date canceled on her, so I said I wouldn't mind going with her", he replied.
Serena's brows knitted in confusion. "I thought the two of you were dating, dating. Like interested in each other non platonically?"
Darien shrugged. "After the first date I walked her to her door. She patted me on the shoulder, said it was never going to happen, and that we should just be friends when I went in to kiss her. I just accepted it."
This immediately caused Serena to laugh out loud; he just nodded his head in acceptance of the inherent embarrassment on his behalf that came with explaining this story. "Yeah, I had a feeling anyway. It's not like we worked out too well the first time, she always had a thing for really blonde guys. Plus she called me out, she said she figured out I asked her out on the date just to piss you off and interrupt your ladies night. Said she couldn't date a guy that immature", Darien explained.
Serena snorted a bit and tried to keep herself from giggling anymore then was necessary. "I guess I have cost you two dates now", Serena replied with some sympathy though her inability to contain her smile let him know that she really wasn't all that sorry.
"Yeah, well like you said the whole Ayume thing wouldn't have worked out well for me anyway. And I think I'd prefer to keep Mina as a friend. Something tells me she's high maintenance. So our arguments have seemingly saved me believe it or not".
"Oh now what makes you say that", Serena asked though to Darien's surprise it wasn't defensive or challenging in the least, more like amused.
His eyebrows rose and he answered honestly, "Have you seen her clothes? They are all designer label."
Serena let out a giggle and nodded her head in agreement. "Yeah that's my cousin. You want to get in her pants let alone her heart it'll cost you a pretty penny and strip you of your individuality. It comes with the territory of being a former model turned fashion consultant. She wants to be worshipped."
Before Darien could reply the copy machine beeped at them. "Finally", Serena exclaimed a little too excitedly as she stood up from her chair.
"Is that the last of it", Darien asked as she gathered the copies and the folders up in her arms.
"Yep sure is", Serena answered struggling to juggle the intense stack of papers, Darien noticing that it was about to all hit the floor, walked over and caught the stack just before she lost her balance of it.
"Here let me help", he offered, she didn't fight him in the least as he took half her load and followed her out the door.
"Thanks", Serena muttered somewhat shyly as she weaved her way back to her desk knowing he was following.
"Yeah no problem. After you drop this off, you are free to leave", Darien replied as they came upon her desk and he set his stack down.
Serena set down her files slowly before turning to Darien, hand on her hip, "Look I know we are on a truce and all but why are you being so nice? You know I still have to put these in chronological order."
Darien couldn't help but laugh at her suspicions, he understood why she had them, but still he couldn't lie it wasn't something he was used to: a woman questioning him about being a gentlemen when he was actually trying to be one. "To be honest, I'd feel like a total dick if I left early not having finished my check list for the day and you stayed here finishing yours. We can both finish tomorrow. I generally like to get this boring stuff like what we did today, done all at once every two weeks, but I'll let it slide for today", Darien explained.
She blinked with no response for a moment or two before she finally nodded her head. "Alright. Well thanks. Enjoy your platonic date with my best friend/cousin. Tell her she's a jack ass for inviting you instead of me", Serena replied turning away from him and reaching around her desk for her purse.
"Will do, have a nice night Serena", Darien said over his shoulder as he headed back to the copy room to complete his task.
Serena sighed and put the final touches on her hairstyle. All of her primping was officially done and she still had some time to kill before Seiya arrived to pick her up. Looking herself up and down in the mirror Serena looked for any problems in her gorgeous strappy bare backed white dress that came to her knee's, or in her hair or make up. Her dress was simple yet elegant, not too fancy but not too casual. Biting her lip she made sure her twisted up bun didn't have any strands loose other than the two curls that hung down around her face. Serena heard the door bell and looked at her silver wrist watch with a raised eye brow. "Well he's way early", Serena said quietly to herself before going to the door.
Opening it Serena immediately met the blue eyes of who people considered to be her twin. "Hey Serena I was just here to see what…why are you all dressed up", Mina asked a small smile growing on her face.
"I have a date tonight Mina", Serena replied her voice lowered just in case Darien was there. She didn't want him to have an excuse to ask her just who she was going out with.
Mina stepped into the apartment with an excited expression and revealing her surprise asked, "Really?"
"Really Really Mina. Despite what you may think some men do find me attractive, and I do, in fact, have a life", Serena replied.
"No, don't get me wrong. I know you are pretty. Please, everyone says we look like twins. No, I just don't buy that you'd willingly go out and get yourself a date", Mina replied a knowing smile on her face.
Serena rolled her eyes, "Yeah, you are kind of an asshole."
Mina just shrugged her shoulders and leaned against the closed door of Serena's apartment with her arms crossed. "So what's his name?"
Serena pulled out her handy dandy make up mirror and checked her make up again, making sure that her lip liner was still visible under her light pink lip gloss attempting to appear nonchalant. "His name is Seiya. He's pretty cute, black hair, blue eyes, and tall, muscular enough. There you have all the details Mina. Now what is it you came for", Serena said before shutting her compact knowing that if her friend stayed in her house any longer she would force Serena to give her all the details including how they met which could lead to the revelation of who he was related to.
"Sounds like an interesting guy. And here I was coming to ask and see if you wanted to join Darien and I for a night out. But apparently you have your own plans."
"Well I'm glad you thought to ask Darien first and me later", Serena replied crossing her own arms.
Mina's response was to roll her eyes. "It's a datesy type of restaurant. I didn't want to look like a loser who was stood up", Mina explained, "plus I am seeing Darien too". Apparently she was trying to cover up the fact that they were friends. Why Serena wasn't sure she wanted to know, probably an ego thing again.
"Yeah he already spilled the beans that you two are just friends. So you can go ahead and drop that act. Besides you aren't a player, never have been, never will be. And please tell me how the staff, who are the only ones you could possibly be talking about in this kind of situation and whose opinion I'm assuming you care about for whatever crazy reason or another, would be able to garner that you were stood up if the reservation was for two and you showed up with your best friend", Serena asked beginning to wonder if her cousin was returning to some of her more ditsy ways.
"Because it was under his first name, had to bring a guy", Mina enunciated as slowly as possible, her head shaking with each word.
"So he could possibly show up himself with a date of his own", Serena challenged Mina with, which caused Mina's face to drop. She hadn't thought of that.
"He wouldn't dare", Mina decided on saying. Serena briefly thought about debating further with her cousin on this subject that was her vanity, but it was getting about time that Seiya would be showing up.
"Just so you know adding a third person would've definitely killed the whole datesy thing you were going for. Anyway, Mina it's almost six and my date will be here any minute", Serena replied looking down at her silver wrist watch to confirm that she was right.
"OH MY GOD! I'm not even dressed; Darien will be here in fifteen minutes. I'll talk to you later Serena", Mina said as she hurried out the door in a flash before Serena could say anything. As Serena went to shut her door she heard her cousin shout, "And I was being nice inviting you. I felt guilty."
Serena just shook her head and about a minute later her door bell rung again. Serena opened it with a sweet smile on her face, knowing very well that it was Seiya. "Hey", Serena greeted.
Seiya looked her up and down before whistling. "You look stunning. I am the definition of stunned", Seiya complimented her sincerely, his hand on his chest.
"Thank you", Serena replied while taking his arm and shutting her door behind her.
"So where are we going", Serena asked as she took in Seiya's appearance, he wore some slick slightly too tight black pants with a red silk button up t-shirt under a black blazer.
"That's a matter of national security, can't know until we're there", was his only reply. Serena couldn't help but roll her eyes at the tacky line but giggled to soothe his ego anyway.
His smile brightened as he took note of her feigned chuckle and shook his head. Still though, she looked beautiful. And such an attitude revealed to him that he had his work cut out for him. The drive to the restaurant was quiet and only music broke the silence between the two passengers. Minutes after they parked they walked into one of the most popular restaurants in all of Tokyo, the Emporium. The soft soothing sounds of the piano drifted across the building all around, where couples and families sat by candle light eating their gourmet meals. "So what do you think of this place? Not too bad aye", he asked turning back to his date.
"It's amazing", Serena replied breathlessly as she took in the whole restaurant. Crystal chandeliers hung above them giving light to the dimness of the restaurant, the floor was a beautiful white marble, and the music, it was the music that really entranced her. The classical sounds floated in the air all around promising those in the restaurant a night of romance and love. This place also happened to be one of the hardest places to get a reservation. Serena couldn't help but be impressed.
"Welcome to the Emporium. Do you have a reservation", asked a nearby hostess with a polite smile.
Seiya stepped forward and replied, "Yes, table for two under Light."
"Right this way Mr. Light." Serena followed Seiya and the waitress to a table that seemed to have captured the perfect view of a small lake and garden privately owned by the restaurant.
Seiya being the gentlemen that he was, pulled her chair out for her that she gladly took a seat in before he sat down. After orders for drinks and salads were taken Serena and Seiya were left alone. "So…how in the world did you get a reservation here", Serena couldn't help but question.
He just grinned at her knowingly. "Trade secret I'm afraid", he replied his fingers weaving together as he rested his arms on the table.
Serena chuckled in response. "Ok fine then maybe an easier question is what is it you do Seiya", Serena tried again.
"Well I'm studying to become a technical engineer. I already have my masters in mechanical engineering you know because I wanted to build cars. But I kind of want to work in technology now so I'm working to get my masters in that, which brought me here to Tokyo."
"Ah…and you're from", she asked deciding that she wanted to learn a little bit more about the man who sat in front of her.
"Well I'm a quarter Japanese and half American really. I used to spend my summers here but I grew up in New Haven, Connecticut right by Yale which I attended when I was old enough.", he said pride shinning on his face and in his eyes.
"Impressive but I'm afraid Yale just isn't Harvard", Serena replied smugly as she thought about her own college.
"Ah so you're a Harvard girl? Funny you don't seem like the kiss ass snobby type, definitely have a bit of a frigid vibe going, but I'm just going to take that as you have walls."
Serena couldn't help but laugh and simultaneously scoff at the same time. "Is this how you win over all your dates? Take them to the nicest restaurant in town and insult them and their alma mater?"
"Hey you got on your Harvard High horse and I had to defend myself and my own university. My honor demands it", Seiya teased with a bright smile, hand over his heart again.
Serena couldn't help but laugh and be somewhat impressed with his gall. "Ok, ok. I'll let it slide for now. But if there is to be any future dates, assuming you actually do well tonight, this argument is going to be inevitably resumed and more then likely bloody", she took a dramatic breath, "So how come you didn't go to MIT? I mean isn't that where all the technical sciences and mechanical engineering studies are", Serena asked.
"And here I thought it was you who needed to impress me", he teased with a wink before he continued, "As to MIT, when I first started college I didn't know what I wanted to do all I knew was that I wanted to follow in my cousin's footsteps and go to Yale which he never stopped talking about", Seiya replied happy memories seeping back into his mind.
Serena couldn't help but smile, she had never seen Darien truly close with anyone, let alone talk about a family member and it was obvious that he had a close relationship with Seiya and maybe even they were like brothers. Before Serena could get another word in a cool all too familiar voice interrupted them, "Well, well if it isn't my cousin what a surprise. And who might I ask is your lovely date?"
Serena froze, blinked slowly, and braced herself before turning around with a sheepish smile. "Darien", Serena greeted.
"Oh hi Serena", Darien replied his voice indicating his shock, he briefly overlooked the woman who sat across from his cousin, catching that she looked really good in white. But as beautiful as she looked, he couldn't help but turn his infuriated gaze on his cousin who leaned back in his chair, placing his hands behind his head as he said all too happily, "Hey cousin, what a coincidence huh? I think you already know my date, but who is the lovely one you've brought alongside you."
Serena tried to keep herself from groaning, as she turned her eyes on her cousin whose mouth was shaped in an 'o' and whose eyes were alight with amusement. Serena couldn't help but pinch her nose as she saw her cousin's eyes dart back and forth between Darien and Seiya. She already knew Mina was compiling a list of the similarities between the two men.
"Sorry I'm being rude. Mina you already know your cousin, but this smiling fool over here is mine. Seiya Light", Darien introduced Mina.
Seiya leaned forward, hands slapping on the table. "Well I'll be. We are all cousins here. Well now you guys simply have to join us. Turn this into a familial double date." If Serena didn't know any better she would assume Seiya was challenging Darien with the way he was smiling at him and based on his demeanor.
Serena silently prayed that Darien would decline; their joining would make for an incredibly awkward night. "I'm afraid the table is only set for two", Serena stated hoping that Darien would get the hint.
Instead, it appeared as if Darien hadn't heard her, he was too busy glaring at his cousin. Apparently registering what Seiya had said slightly too late, Darien replied a slow smile spreading on his face, "Yeah sure why not?"
Serena turned a hopeful look to her cousin. Surely she wouldn't let this run in ruin the first date she had willingly gone on in a long time, but Mina's amused smirk told her she was shit out of luck. "Great why not reenact a Jane Austen novel", Serena mumbled sarcastically as the guys fetched a waitress who set about putting another table in connection with theirs and setting their places. As Mina sat herself next to Serena she whispered, "Please I would never do something as tacky as having a double wedding, pretty sure we aren't sisters anyway".
Serena just shot her a glare. Turning back to the guys, Serena watched as Seiya who was leaning back in his chair again was suddenly pushed forward by Darien giving him a nice hard 'friendly' slap to the back. It seemed as if there was something that passed between the two as they caught eyes with one another. Whatever it was Darien was not happy about it. That caused her to raise a brow.
Once everyone was all settled, and the waitress had received drink and salad orders from the joiners, an awkward silence befell them until Mina decided to speak up, "So Seiya how ever did you meet Serena?"
Serena kept her face still, but inside she was mildly mortified. Her cousin had used that voice that came across like she already knew the answer. Seiya though replied good naturedly, "Darien's office, actually. Went in for a visit and saw her sitting at this desk. I'm sure you already know she's his secretary."
"Assistant Attorney", both Darien and Serena corrected at the same time. Darien's voice indicating far more annoyance then Serena's which earned him a look from all but Seiya, who merely grinned. Serena took over the explanation, "I am an attorney. Have a really, really expensive degree from Harvard to prove it. My Dad just wants me to act as Darien's assistant both in the office and on cases to get in the swing of things in his company and here in Japan."
"Yep those are the perks of working for Uncle Kenji getting to work as an assistant for incredibly handsome men", Mina replied smiling brightly at Darien before she added, "and speaking of handsome men. You seem to have a lot in common with Darien. Looks and all. Hard to say which one of you is more handsome."
Mina placed her chin on the palm of her hand and rested her elbow on the table looking between the two before she turned on her cousin who was burning a hole in her head from the glare she was giving her. "What do you think Serena", Mina dared.
Serena who had just taken a sip of water practically choked on it. Once she'd regained control of her ability to swallow, she set down her glass and turned her eyes on the guys certain that she looked like a deer caught in the head lights. Fortunately for her Darien saved her, "I'm pretty sure Seiya is the prettier of the two of us."
Seiya turned to him with a laugh, "Yeah I can accept that. I'm perfectly comfortable being the less brawny one here". While the guys were facing each other Serena took the opportunity to stomp on her cousin's foot. Surprisingly the only indication Mina gave of the painful encounter was a subtle 'humph' that neither Darien nor Seiya heard.
"Nothing wrong with having muscle, you should try it sometime, people wouldn't confuse you for a woman then, that and pants that actually fit", Darien replied with a laugh as he took a sip of the wine that had been placed in front of him during their discussion.
"Ah ha-ha. Funny. I don't think I really need it to attract the ladies. Just look at the gorgeous one across from me. Proof is in the pudding", Seiya countered, gesturing towards Serena, causing her to blush. Darien could not keep the grimace from his face.
"Hey, you guys are both handsome. I'd personally date you both at the same time. Darien we could chill at my apartment tonight and Seiya you could take me out tomorrow night", Mina said with a mischievous smile and a wink as she sipped on her own wine. Serena immediately turned to her cousin catching her veiled meaning. Mina gave her a sly look with a knowing grin. "Oh dear lord what did Raye tell you in the insanely short span of time we've managed to not be together today", Serena whispered in her cousin's ear.
"Nothing much other than that he was over at your house for an hour or two last night", Mina replied discreetly and under her breath as she placed a napkin on her lap. "I'm sorry what did you say I didn't catch it", Mina asked drawing the two females attention back towards the conversation between Darien and Seiya. Seiya had just been speaking to the entire table.
"I was just saying that before Darien and yourself arrived that Ms. Tsukino and I were just having a debate over which college is better. Yale or Harvard", Seiya replied with a smile, his eyes glancing between Darien and Serena. Mina's eyebrow quirked upwards at the mention of the subject. Seiya was too intent, too interested in what his words were about to bring up. "Is he purposely starting a fight?" Mina couldn't help but wonder. And what purpose would that serve on his date with Serena? She couldn't help but have her interest peaked. Something was going on under the radar between Darien and Seiya, for Darien gave his cousin a knowing and annoyed look. Apparently Darien caught on to his cousin's baiting. Serena, however, did not. "I thought we'd agreed not to raise the subject of my university's superiority to yours until a later date", Serena teased.
Mina smiled as she saw Darien hold in his almost innate need to contradict Serena, though Seiya seemed surprised. "I mean now that I have Darien beside me I feel it might be best to resume this conversation."
Mina couldn't help but intervene testing the waters of his purpose, curious as to the motive of his game, "So what you are saying is that you need Darien to help win a battle?"
All laughed at his expense, he simply shrugged. "I just would've loved to see the arguments that could be brought up by two lawyers."
"Sure", Darien replied sarcastically, though his eyes seemed to be less playful then the rest of his demeanor showed.
"Nay it's true. As you've told me you two are famous for your arguments. I was just curious to see one."
"You really don't want to open that can of worms Seiya. It can be funny at times, but by the end of it, it is incredibly embarrassing. You and I would be diving under the table or would leave and claim no association to them", Mina explained with a chuckle that earned one from Seiya, though neither Serena or Darien were amused.
Both Serena and Darien's eyes met in a brief and rare moment of agreement. "Oh come on Mina I think you are exaggerating just a little bit", Darien was the first to speak.
"Seriously, we keep our tones hushed for the most part", Serena agreed. Oh no, Serena thought as she saw that look cross her face. Mina had a trump card, probably multiple.
"Yeah ok, you two have literally been pulled apart and escorted out of not one, not two, but five public places by security guards", Mina explained before emphasizing, "security guards."
Seiya's eyebrows shot up in surprise, and a flush of embarrassment immediately covered Serena's face. "That was high school Mina", Darien replied nonchalantly with a shrug of his shoulders. Serena couldn't help but give him a look that screamed 'what the hell did you say that for'? He had clearly and unknowingly dared Mina to continue.
"You are right as adults security guards have not been called", Mina agreed with a nod. She let a moment of quiet settle over them. Serena started to lean over to remind her cousin that Serena was on a date with a guy and that Mina's big mouth was about to completely and utterly ruin it but Mina was faster, "However, Serena you sent Beryl flowers that read 'I love you' on behalf of Darien", Mina broke a moment and looked at Seiya, "Beryl is a crazy person by the way, also very…willing to jump into bed with men." Mina paused only a moment to turn her eyes on Darien, "Darien you dumped Serena fully clothed into a public fountain. Pretty sure you guys have also embarrassed yourselves in front of a client when you argued over not sleeping with each other, which is a strange argument to have by the way."
As soon as Mina finished Serena stood up and uttered that she was heading to the bathroom at the same time as Darien wagged a finger at her, "I knew it!"
Serena shot a glare at her cousin who was laughing alongside Seiya. "You are unbelievable, I'm never telling you anything ever again", Serena gritted out before stomping off to the ladies room to freshen up and to give her time to recover her lost dignity.
"Serena come back", her cousin laughed after her, but Serena just shot another glare over her shoulder before she continued on. Seiya couldn't help but laugh at the situation that unfolded and give his cousin a look of surprise and enjoyment, his eyebrows high on his forehead in delight. He had never even come close to seeing his cousin lose his cool before and apparently this woman had been doing it for years. The man was easily the most controlled and methodical person he'd ever met in his life, besides his grandfather and apparently Serena could undo it all. For a brief moment he thought about the meaning of that, but decided not to explore it further. He had a game he was set on playing.
Darien stood up a moment after Serena left and looked to his cousin, "And with our brief respite, Seiya it's time you and I had a quick chat."
Seiya's face soured immediately, the laughter at his cousin's expense immediately gone. "What", he asked almost stupidly, childishly. He knew what was coming. What his cousin wanted to speak to him about. He'd deliberately gone against what Darien had suggested and it didn't help he'd caught Seiya at it. Furthermore, he tried to bate Darien into the game Seiya so desperately wanted to play that Darien so clearly did not want to. The look Darien was giving him told him everything he needed to know, he was in for a scolding like a child. "I think I'm good", he started to say.
Darien, however, was also carrying a trump card this evening. He simply smiled, his eye brows raised in challenge. "I can always tell your mom you called gramps to get yourself these reservations."
Seiya's face fell. "Well you got me by the balls there", he said with resignation as he began to stand up. A sudden slap to the back of Seiya's head halted him for a second. He shot his a cousin an incredulous look, "What was that for?"
"There's a lady present moron", his cousin continued his chastisement, earning a giggle from Mina.
"Jesus ok Dad", Seiya muttered bitterly, before starting to walk towards the entrance to the lake outside, he was halted however as Darien turned his attention back on his date who had just said, "I think you two are adorable."
Apparently Mina didn't know Darien quite that well; otherwise she would've realized she was in for it from the sudden look that came over Darien's face.
"Don't think you've escaped any of this Mina. You should go and apologize to your cousin for ruining her date with your antics", Darien practically demanded.
Mina pretended to be offended, her mouth falling open. Deep down she knew he was right. Before she could even begin to protest Darien beat her to the punch, "Don't even Mina. You'd hate to be in her place right about now. And I'm not giving you a choice. I won't pay for dinner unless you do. I will totally call in that I owe you."
Mina huffed in resignation, "Fine." This confused Seiya immediately, he couldn't help but commentate as he looked between the beautiful blonde and his cousin, "What kind of man black mails his own date?"
"We're friends", Darien answered quickly, shrugging off his cousin's insult. This however, earned Darien not only a shocked expression but further ridicule.
"What the flying fu-" Seiya corrected himself, "-dge. What happened to you man? You are platonic with gorgeous women now?"
Mina couldn't help but giggle. This was a whole other level of entertaining, she had never seen Darien around his family, ever. And Seiya was witty, mildly obnoxious, but witty none the less. And funny enough even Darien was struggling to keep the amusement off of his face from his cousin's antics. Her brief observation ended as Seiya brought the forgotten Mina back into the conversation, "Be honest, is my cousin into men now?"
Uncontrollable laughter bubbled up from her lips, her sides beginning to hurt from the interactions she was witnessing. She'd give Seiya points for being funny and couldn't blame Serena for going on a date with him. He was mildly charming. Darien didn't hesitate to grab his cousin by the arm and yank him back towards the door saying, "Yeah that's enough". As they walked away she was able to hear just a little bit more of their bickering. She was lucky enough to catch Darien comment, "Bet you wish you had muscle now huh? What did you decide to go Vegan again?"
"That was one time. And it was for a woman", Seiya tried to defend himself as he opened up the door to the patio of the restaurant.
"Just get outside", Darien ordered as he shoved his cousin out, shutting the door behind him effectively ending Mina's ability to overhear their banter.
Mina turned and watched from the window as the two came to stand face to face, her chin in the palm of her hand. She giggled as they began to exchange words, Darien remaining stern, arms crossed. Seiya just kept shrugging and smiling, clearly laughing at whatever Darien had to say. She'd been so out of it she never even noticed that a plate of food had been placed in front of her. "Where'd the guys go", a voice interrupted.
Mina turned to look at her cousin and best friend who stood mildly confused as to the empty side of the table. "Outside", Mina said against her fingers, her head tilted as she attempted to read the lips of the two guys outside. She couldn't imagine what they were arguing about.
"Ah well then", Serena said sitting down in front of her meal. Apparently their entrees had been dropped off while she was mustering the courage to return to the table. It took her a second to realize she didn't remember ever ordering dinner, "When did we order?"
"No idea. I'm going to chalk it up to Darien ordering us all the chef's special, he had mentioned how renowned the chef was here", Mina replied practically waving her off, still watching the two men outside argue.
Serena lifted her fork and took a bite of what appeared to be a seared halibut dish, the fish tasted like butter in her mouth and she couldn't help but moan with pleasure, before taking another bite, this time also taking a bite of the potatoes. "They are missing out", Serena said with her mouth half full.
Serena froze as Mina's phone started buzzing on the table with the name Andrew lighting up the screen. Both women stared at it a moment before their eyes met.
"I would just like to remind you Darien, again, for what must be the millionth time in our adult lives, that I am a grown ass man."
Darien immediately started laughing at that. "The fact that you feel the need to say that makes it almost counterintuitive."
"The fact that you are lecturing me right now as if I were a child requires that I need to say that to you."
"I wouldn't be lecturing you right now, if you had been an adult and listened to me and not gone and taken my BOSS'S daughter on a date. And don't even pretend that you haven't been trying to bait me into one of those silly ass games of yours", Darien replied pointing his finger at him.
"Actually it is was one of your silly ass games that you taught me while I was in high school", Seiya countered challengingly.
Darien rolled his eyes skyward, "You eavesdropping in on me and my friends over thanksgiving and Christmas breaks does not count as me teaching you anything Seiya."
"See there! You admit it! You played these games too. Why? Because they are fun", Seiya tried to reason.
"Seiya we were idiots", Darien enunciated as slowly as possible, "and guess what? We all grew out of that. That was college, which you graduated out of two years ago by the way."
"Ok, fine, whatever. I will drop the games", Seiya conceded with his hands up, "but she is still a gorgeous woman, who is funny and well educated. And you, despite what you may think, are not my father. Nor are you my older brother. I can date whom I want."
"Seiya", Darien growled, "the last thing I want or need is for you to fuck up with Serena, her tell her father and this all come back on me."
"Ok, so this is the part where I get to say she is a grown ass woman", Seiya smugly replied, "Who can probably take care of herself. She has been duking it out with you for years. I think she can handle dating me."
Darien opened his mouth to retort but the door opening behind him halted his lecturing. He turned to find Serena with a look of apprehension on her face. "Sorry to interrupt. Darien we have a problem."
She paused only a moment before continuing, "Yeah. Andrew called Mina." The look on her face told him everything he needed to know.
"Shit", Darien groaned, rubbing a hand over his face before turning to his cousin, "this is not over."
"Yeah go take care of your own date", Seiya replied lowly so Serena couldn't hear. Darien shot him one last glare before following Serena back inside.
"She's still on the phone with him", Darien questioned in a surprised manner leaning over to Serena. Serena crossed her arms and let out a sigh of exasperation. They both were out in the parking lot of the restaurant, just in front of the main entrance. Mina was ahead of them by Mina's car, pacing as she talked in a hushed manner into the phone.
"Yeah, she walked out of the restaurant a few seconds into their conversation. Her face fell. Pretty sure he told her about everything", she replied.
"Great, just great. Perfect timing for life confessions Andrew", Darien sighed himself, "How badly do you think she'll take it? I mean it has been a really long time."
"It's not world ending if that's what you're worried about. But he is her first love and I'm sure her ego won't like the fact that not only did he snub her, dump her without any warning by way of just not speaking to her for another woman, but he also went and married that other woman. She's going to need to drink", Serena replied with a shrug, their eyes met again. This was not good for their group of friends. This would be talked about. And what was worse, the only people who knew the true reasons behind Mina and Andrew's big break up besides Mina now, were the two people currently watching Mina on the phone. Mina would not like that. As that thought dawned on Serena she couldn't help but bring her nails to her lips, she began to nimble nervously as she searched for signs that Mina had been told about their knowledge. "So…how badly is this going to go for us", Darien asked apparently on the same train of thought.
"Yeah…she could be really pissed", Serena replied turning back to Darien who had an almost comical look of worry on his face.
"You more then me", Serena continued, "you knew first and for longer. But she'll not exactly be happy that I found out recently and didn't tell her."
Darien turned to her with a bit of a glare intending on arguing with her that most likely she'd be the bigger target, she was the best friend after all and Darien hadn't seen Mina in years prior to recent events. However, his cousin chose that moment to step outside and join them, "Hey guys, so, I'm still inside. And the food is getting quite cold."
Serena closed her eyes, gritting her teeth as she realized that she'd completely forgotten that she was on a date and that she had left him inside. Gathering her wits and letting out a deep breath, she turned towards him with an apologetic smile, "So sorry Seiya. Friend emergency. Kind of complicated".
Darien tried to keep himself from grinning at the exchange. He had seen her expression as she realized she was still supposed to be on a date and that she was panicking because of it. It was near impossible for him not to comment and embarrass her further. But, they had maintained this truce thus far and she seemed to be floundering a bit as to what to do. "Serena", Darien said calling her attention away from Seiya.
She turned to him with a look that practically screamed 'oh no'. She knew he had an opportunity here. "Go back inside and eat. I'll handle this for now."
She nodded her head and then she did something unexpected, she smiled at him. A slow, grateful, genuine smile. He couldn't admit it, heck he wouldn't admit it but for a moment he was taken aback. Stunned. Possibly breathless? No that was ridiculous. Serena and Seiya were starting to head inside when the sound of plastic hitting concrete and then shattering halted them. All eyes turned to Mina and found that she had thrown her cell phone down on the sidewalk, shattering the screen, even breaking off a few pieces of the phone. She slumped up against the car, and covered her face with her beautifully manicured hand, her shoulders shaking. Serena sighed and met eyes with both men, shaking her head, particularly placing a hand on Darien's shoulder as he made to move towards Mina. This was no task for a man. "Sorry Seiya I really want to continue this. But, she needs me", Serena explained.
Serena made to move past them but Darien grabbed her by the wrist. Her eyes widened and she couldn't help but look down at his grasp. Realizing what he'd done he dropped his grip immediately. "Raye's in town. Lita too. They got in tonight. Nathan and Jed were called in for some emergent business. I'd imagine you'd want all the girls for this."
And there it was again: another genuine bright smile. "Thank you Darien. I'll give them a call here in a minute", she turned toward Seiya, "Do you mind waiting?"
Seiya made to open his mouth but Darien replied for him, "I'll go with him. Mina drove me."
Darien could feel the hole burning in the back of his head. His cousin was furious. But separating the two of them was for the best. This was his opportunity to end this nonsensical game his cousin was trying to start. He was not going to let his moron playboy of a cousin screw up his relationship with Serena's father by way of screwing and screwing over his daughter. Serena nodded her head in agreement, "Ok. Thanks."
She walked over to Seiya and gave him a light peck on his cheek, "Thank you for being understanding. I'll call you ok?"
Seiya took a break from his murderous glare to smile at Serena and pretend to be savvy with the situation. "Yeah definitely." Both men watched as Serena made her way to her friend. Darien turned back to his cousin to find him crossing his arms, "You're paying for all that wasted food and wine I hope you know."
"Yeah, yeah whatever. Just get back inside already, let's give them some privacy", Darien replied nonchalantly.
"I'm not sitting at the table like we're a gay couple", Seiya muttered. Darien groaned out loud in utter annoyance before pushing his cousin forward. "You're an idiot".
"An idiot who got you in the game", Seiya jeered. Darien rolled his eyes and played it off like he was entirely wrong, he didn't even bother in a response. However, something inside of him had to wonder if he didn't want his cousin to date Serena for reasons other then his professional aspirations. Immediately his mind rejected such thoughts. "Shake it off Shields", he muttered quietly to himself.
"What'd you say", his cousin questioned. "Nothing you need to worry your pretty man bun loving head over", Darien responded quickly.
"Hardy har har, I've never had a man bun in my life", Seiya countered. Darien's response was a tug on his ponytail, "Nah just pony tails."