Meet The Lady
The Li clan is one of the oldest and richest clans in the world. It's actually rumored to be one of those clans that raises true leaders (from the limb-breaking, brain-busting training of the elders, no doubt). Some would say that those bearded/bald/droopy-eyed guys and the main Li Family are magical. The clan's current leader is Yelan Li, whose husband, the former leader, died a couple of years ago. They have a son who's already 18 years old and goes to Robert Stevenson Academy. This son will lead the clan by the time he turns 21. Of course, as always, said elders have a few screws loose and demanded that there'd be requirement before he can do that (killjoys. Hmph).
Rule no 1298 blah blah: before the heir can take his position as leader of the clan, he or she must find a husband or a wife to fully claim his title as leader BEFORE the age of 20 or the title will be handed down to the next potential candidate.
Easy? Nope. You see, the phrase 'he or she must find a husband or wife' is not a phrase that means 'potential-leader-will-find-his/her-own-husband/wife-HIMSELF/HERSELF' to the elders. You know those bearded droopy-eyed guys? THOSE are the elders. The requirements for a wife/husband are:
a. must be of high status (child of a big company's owner, another clan's heir etc.)
b. must hold at least a TEENY bit of beauty (may be artificial)
c. will accept the proposal… willingly
So, the elders are the ones who find them a husband/wife. As a result, ever since the heir was 15, hordes of girls (and since they ARE rich, most of them have a big head and, although some of them ARE born pretty, some have needle-placed noses, mouths… like Michael Jackson which, needless to say, worked) were thrust upon him. Some makes mild moves on him, cheats on him or just make him go stark crazy with suffocation.
Until one girl finally went to far and… let the story begin.
"Now, explain why you did that to the girl, Xiao-Lang," a black haired woman questioned, sighing and putting a hand on her forehead. She looked up and stared at three 18-year old teens in front of her. One, a boy with blue hair and eyes named Eriol, was sporting an innocent look. The other one, a girl with amethyst eyes and black hair, was looking around the garden (they were seated at the huge terrace) with feigned interest and the last one, her son named Xiao-Lang, was looking like he didn't care what happened to the girl… which was perfectly true.
"Mother, Miya Okinawa, the 200th 'wife candidate' the elders picked," Xiao-Lang answered dully, "pushed Tomoyo aside to talk to me, locked her in the girls locker room because she was misinformed that she was my girlfriend and cursed Eriol loudly in front of the whole class because I allegedly ditched her to join him in the opening of Jet Li's 'Unleashed' even though she knows that I turned down her offer to go picnic POLITELY," he emphasized the word for his mother to hear clearly, even though she already did.
"She threatened our Science teacher if he didn't make her my lab partner and she tried to make a move on me," he said simply.
"Made a move on you?" she repeated exasperatedly. "That's what Sheila did! Is the kiss also in the cheek? Why can't you just report her to the principal and NOT deal with her yourself? Did you know that her parents called and almost threatened to do something drastic as revenge for what happened? By God, I certainly would have if I woke up one day to find that my daughter's skin turned pink! Had it not been for Wei's smart reasoning we would have been in serious trouble!"
Li huffed. "She tried to kiss me in front of the whole class! On the lips!" he protested indignantly.
"That excuse is not good enough to also pour mercuric oxide on her hair!" Yelan snapped. "For heaven's sake, Xiao-lang! I cannot tolerate this anymore! You know that it does not take 2 weeks, 2 days or 3 weeks to turn a girl into a lady that passes your standards."
"You mean the elders' standards. I take any as long as I know I love her," he argued, thinking 'duh' at the same time. The other 2 AGREED again.
His mother ignored this. "Of course, in spite of all this, I trust that you're feelings for women who are NOT a wife candidate have remained docile and non-murderous?"
"Only a little bit."
"Answer me, Xiao-Lang."
"Fine. Yes. In fact, I feel incredibly thankful to the opposite sex as of the moment," he said sarcastically.
A pleased and smug smile spread on his mother's face. "I hope you mean that seriously Xiao-Lang, because I daresay you will find this news of mine rather disturbing if you're not."
"We will have a guest arriving this afternoon. She will stay with us for 2 months so I expect you to treat her courteously and appropriately. Lack of propriety will not be tolerated, you man. Form a friendship with her in any way you can. Do that or I will personally make sure you and Miya will tie the knot… tightly!"
"SHE?" Li echoed, horrified. "But if it's a girl… WHY?" he asked angrily. "She'll probably be another one of those rich snobs who's all stuck up or something! She'll probably…no…. surely make my life hell!"
"My sentiments, exactly," Eriol said, nodding and participating now that he was out of danger. "But since this is a very personal family matter, lovely Tomoyo and I—"
"—must be on our way," Tomoyo continued, glancing nervously at them and started edging away, "as not to hinder a mother-son bonding—"
"—which is very important—"
"Don't think you two are off the hook," Yelan said sharply. "You will help my son or your parents will know what you have done! You two were part of this so you will pay the consequences."
"Bu-but," Eriol stuttered, eyes bugged out, "I know nothing about girls!"
Yelan replied with a very uncharacteristic "so?"
"NOOOOO!" he howled. "What if she's so fashionistic that she's even worse than TOMOYO! OW!" he winced when the said girl slapped him in the shoulder.
"Actually, Eriol's right, Mrs. Li. Most of the girls whom we've known and were once engaged to your son are missing in the Manners and Etiquette department. In fact, most of them are… well," Tomoyo struggled for the right word.
"Egoistic? Rude? Self-centered?" Li and Eriol offered, glad to assist.
Tomoyo snapped her fingers. "Exactly! Mrs. Li, how can you be so sure that this one isn't like that rest of them?" she asked apprehensively.
Yelan smiled slyly. "Ah, but this girl's quite… different. I think she's what you call… one of the guys."
"So… she's like the total opposite of what the elders picked for me. She's… what, a tomboy or something?" Li asked slowly, seemingly unable to comprehend what his mother had just said.
His mother nodded. "Yes, and very much so. Her mother, Nadesiko, who is a close friend of mine, has been desperately trying to turn her into a lady but has not reaped any fruit from her labor. Her daughter is very-no—extremely stubborn. So much that no one can crack her. I have met her and can justify that sentence fully. I know for a fact that she'd rather die than have lipgloss smeared on her mouth."
Eriol cocked an eyebrow. "Wow. She's worthy of the show 'Twilight Zone,'" he remarked, smirking.
Yelan sighed. "She's a very ill-tempered girl, a very closed shell. Nobody can make her open up. Nobody knows what happened. Her mother is desperate for the person who can melt the walls around her heart. Of course, I daresay it will be a nice change for all of you." As if jerked by a sudden jolt, Li's mother's lips curled into a smile. Way creepy smile
A disturbingly sinister smile.
Like the ones Tomoyo has when she found a plan to make the sales go down by 50 percent.
Definitely not good.
Li's eyes widened when he saw the look on Yelan's face. Backing away, he shook his head. "No," he said slowly. Then his voice rose ten octaves higher when he started protesting,
"NOOOO!NONONONONONONO FREAKING WAY! I WILL NOT DO IT!"
"Oh yes, you will!" Yelan said sharply. "You will turn, at least try, to turn her into a real lady fit for your standing. That way, if ever the elders feel it is the right time to give you another fiancée, you will not just cast her aside when you know how hard the training is to meet the requirements. Succeed, and you can say farewell to your engagement to Miya. Fail, expect that you will be spending the rest of your life with her and her…… parents." Sad to say, she was not too fond of Miyu's obnoxious parents, either.
Li sputtered, "but-but I don't know anything about girls! Sure I date and all, but I hardly know what's on their heads! Heck, I don't even care!" he burst out angrily.
"That's why you will have Eriol and Tomoyo as partners," she said, glancing at the 2. "A girl and a boy. And no, Eriol, I don't care if you don't know anything about women. This is part of the punishment."
She got up and smoothed her dress. "And now, if you'll excuse me, I have matters to attend to. See you at 4." She swept past them in a ruffle of skirts and shawls, letting the punishment be absorbed by the shocked teenagers.
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Li's room OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
"I can't believe she'd do something like this!" Li howled, resting his head on the headstand and sitting on the floor. "The elders are way better on handing out punishments. I mean, they punish with extra hours in training or an extra day but never make friends to some girl!"
Eriol was playing games at Li's Xbox. "Tell me about it," he grumbled, "I mean, I am a man! I'm not gay!"
Tomoyo shrugged, her hair tied back and currently reading a fashion magazine. "Well, it's a very exciting challenge, if you ask me."
Typical Tomoyo, thought the two boys. She has about a hundred magazines about woman etiquette and girls. Doing the punishment is like putting together a cheese sandwich for her.
"Of course, I don't know about you guys but I think Mrs. Li is stretching the truth a bit." She then went over to Eriol and picked up the tray of food. "I mean, it's just so hard to believe that a girl we will know is.. uh… extremely tomboyish or something."
"Yes, you're right," Eriol agreed, "but Li's mother is hardly the type of person who jokes. I'll eat your bed if I hear her do it."
Li scoffed, "I am 100 percent sure she is lying." It was the first time his mother had lied to him.
"Bet you 100 bucks that Mrs. Li's telling the truth," Eriol dared, grinning.
Li smirked and shook his outstretched hand. "You're on," he said cockily.
Tomoyo raised an eyebrow, a smile on he face. "Yeah well, I'm going down to fetch more chips. Oh, and make sure both of you clean up the mess or Rosmerta will have a fit," she went and closed the door behind her.
"I still cannot believe that there is a girl out there that will rather die than put those—what do you call them?—oh yeah, lipsglass on their mouths. I mean, eversince we stepped into the hallways of our school, we were surrounded by girls worthy of landing a spot in Vain Valley" Li said absent-mindedly.
Eriol shrugged. "I guess this change is not new to the outside world. But our school, you have to admit, is practically the most prestigious school next to Harvard. I mean, it's high class, man. What do you expect?"
"Yeah…." Li agreed
A few minutes before she was gone, Eriol slapped his forehead and exclaimed, "I forgot to tell her there's no more chips!" he scrambled after Tomoyo, leaving the door swinging open.
"HEY! TELL HER I WANT SOME COKE!" Li hollered, running after them.
He ran after them, down the hallway and craning his head. Then, he saw Eriol's head at the top of the stairs. Tomoyo's head was visible too and both of them were standing still. Upon reaching them, he tapped both on the shoulder. "Yoohoo! Hey!" Li asked them, waving his left hand in front of their face wildly.
Neither one responded.
He noticed that Tomoyo's eyes were locked on the direction of the entrance. He looked at Eriol and his eyes were doing the same too.
He looked at the direction and only then did he notice the figure being addressed by his mother down on the front entrance. His eyes bulged.
Eriol suddenly whispered, smirking, "give me my 100 bucks, Mr. Hotshot."
"I thought our visitor was a girl?" he asked, confused.
But then, he saw the unmistakable form of the upper body of a woman. Only, with this one, it was covered in black baggy-and when I say baggy-I mean BAGGY- pants, a Chicago Bulls shirt 1999 and, oh hell, is that a Nike limited edition baseball cap? He tried so hard to get one of those babies! The visitor looked up, revealing gorgeous emerald eyes (which were currently obscured by the cap). It wasn't the way she dressed, either. She had this swagger that all men have and signifies that that man was a macho-man and not a wuss. But that half smile … oh crap.
Accidentally, her cap tilted and fell and, to the group's astonishment, luscious auburn hair cascaded in waves that ended 3 inches below her shoulders. The visitor scowled and hurriedly put the cap back on, causing Yelan to smile amusedly.
Li's eyes widened. 'That's no boy… that's a GIRL!' he thought, astonished.
"YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!"