Chapter 1

The sunny day had turned out nicer than she truly expected. The young girl of 21 strolled happily down her neighborhood block and was headed towards home. She greeted a few neighbors and flashed her brilliant smile before continuing on her way.

"It's so beautiful out. I wish I actually had some plans for a change to be out in the sun! Maybe I'll give Sango a ring and see what she's doing!" she mused to herself.

It was turning out to a milder than normal March day. Temperatures were at record highs for this time of year and she was actually feeling a bit hot in her spring jacket. Her naturally wavy ebony locks swayed in the light breeze causing stray bangs to frame her large brown eyes.

She'd just returned from a long days work at a local diner where she was a waitress.

"Good afternoon Kagome" Mr. Katagi greeted from watering the plants in his front yard.

"Hello Mr. Katagi!" she smiled and waved back.

"How's the university and when will our brightest architect be building me a new house?" he smiled back.

Kagome blushed slightly, "Soon hopefully. If she isn't overcome with tests!"

"Don't worry dear, I'm sure you'll do fine!" he waved back as she walked on, "Bye now!"


A few minutes later she unlocked the front door of her building and headed towards the mailboxes. A sigh escaped her lips and the absent sun in the lobby made her mood slightly darker. "This is never good" she thought while slipping her mail key into the box. Reaching in, she grabbed a few envelopes and catalogues.

A short 3 story climb to her apartment was done in record time while she fumbled with her bag and the mail. Finally, she managed to get inside her humble abode. Methodically she dropped her bag and the mail on the small wooden table that she'd found a few months back and varnished to look like new.

She slipped out of her work shoes and noted the rubber sole was starting to come off. "Damnit" she cursed. Next came her restrictive coat and since she lived alone, her plain white button down shirt as well. It felt good to finally be able to move around freely and she walked into the kitchen to put up some water to boil for supper.

After pouring herself some juice, she collected the mail again and walked into the small living room. It contained a slightly worn but very comfortable green couch, a matching arm chair, small wooden coffee table, a bulky 32" TV, and mismatched lamps. The room was simple but clean, just they way she liked it; simple cotton white curtains hung over the two windows and a few small rugs protected the shiny wood floor, which was her pride and joy.

She flopped down on the couch and turned on the television to any random channel while sifting through the mail. "Bill…bill…bill…" she muttered without even opening the envelopes and depositing them one by one atop the coffee table. "All bills!" she sighed and slumped back against the sofa.

Her large brown eyes opened a few minutes later and she noticed the blinking red light of her telephone's answering machine. After another exhaustive sigh, she got up and walked over to it.

'12. New. Messages' came the mechanical male voice after she pressed the button.

"Never anything good either" she muttered back to the uncaring machine.

'First. New. Message…' it went on she didn't bother to note the date and time of the call. Did it matter?

"Hello this message is for Ms. Kagome Higurashi please call me back at 800-555-555. This is in concern to your loan with First National Bank. Thank you."

Kagome groaned at the male voice and his all important message and she promptly hit the delete button before even noting the number.

'Next. New. Message…'

It went on that way until the rest of the 11 messages were heard and promptly deleted. They were all the same in nature, "Kagome Higurashi please call" this number or the other in regards to this loan payment or another.

She was tempted to rip the blasted phone from the wall and fling it out the window. But that would only result in another string of bills she couldn't afford, and possibly the authorities being called to her small apartment. Instead she was content to forget the mess for the time being.

"I think I WILL call Sango to hang out for a bit" she decided.

Remembering her hot water bubbling away on the stove she rushed into the kitchen and quickly opened a wooden cabinet. She took out a small package.

"Argh, Ramen will have to do until I get some grocery shopping done."

Just as she ripped open the package and was about to drop the ramen into the water, the phone rang. She cursed and decided the water would be fine for a few more seconds and she raced out of the small kitchen to answer the phone.

"Hello?" she answered while walking back towards the kitchen.

"Hello, can I speak to Ms. Kagome Higurashi please?" came a familiar male voice from the other end.

She wanted to smack herself for not checking the caller ID before answering at that point, "Uh, speaking."

"Hi, this is Brian Paget from the ARS Collection Services calling in regards to your loan amount" he announced.

She imagined for a moment the face of her torturer. He was probably some stout, wicked looking man with pointy ears, a disgusting wart-filled nose and a horrible grin across his ragged teeth. Did he honestly love calling her practically everyday to remind her how heavily in debt she was? Why didn't he understand that she was working practically every free moment she had to try and get on track?

Pushing all thoughts from her mind, she responded, "Yes sir?"

"Well Ms. Higurashi I've been trying to get in touch with you for a few days now and have left several messages for you" he reminded her. As if she needed a reminder for that!

"I understand, I just got all your messages and I have been working full time for the most part. You mostly called during normal business hours, which is when I'm at school or work" she explained, picking up the ramen from the packaging.

"Oh I see, well in any case this is just to let you know that unless you make a full payment on the loan you owe, we will be pressing forward with legal action against you."

At those words Kagome dropped the lump of ramen absentmindedly into the pot of boiling hot water. It caused a small splash and the boiling liquid splattered across her bare stomach since she was still clad only in her bra and pants.

"FUCK!" she cursed in agony and wiped at the scolding hot water on her skin. She pressed the phone on her ear again, "What do you mean legal action?"

She was fuming at the moment and wanted to give the smart-ass on the other end a piece of her mind.

"Madam cursing at me will not resolve this issue" he snapped back.

"I burnt myself just now" she gritted through clenched teeth and added, "BAKA" mentally.

"Well in any event" he continued not even caring or perhaps not entirely believing her, "When can you make another payment?"

As he'd spoken, Kagome had taken off the stove, walked out of the kitchen and into her bedroom. It consisted of a Queen-size bed, her only splurge when moving into the rented apartment, an old dresser that had seen better days and her small table with a computer. Her closet consisted mostly of business casual clothing (slacks, dress shirts) since she'd been working from the age of 16.

She had to grow up fast after the deaths of her parents and sending her younger brother away to live with her aunt. Kagome had decided not to become a burden on her family and instead went off to college. She could still remember those simpler times when she didn't have to worry about bills, loans, and working!

"Wait, why are you taking legal action? I just sent you people some money!" she snapped standing in front of the mirror.

She had a pleasant attitude for the most part, but she could be temperamental when she wanted to. Her brown eyes blazed with fury. Just a little while ago it seemed she made a huge payment to them to get them off her back, and now this!

"Well Ms. Higurashi that was almost three months ago" he started.

"SHIT, SHIT, SHIT" she cursed. Had it been that long already? It seemed she barely struggled with the Christmas money that she'd received from her relatives to pay them the large monthly payment.

"And" he continued in his annoying, nasal tone, "you haven't sent any payments after that effectively breaking the agreement we set. If you do not send another payment in the full amount by the end of the month, we'll be forced to continue to take legal action against you."

"What kind of legal action?" she asked still angry.

"We will be suing you Ms. Higurashi."

Her world spun out of control and she nearly fell over at his words, "WHAT? SUING ME! FOR WHAT? I AM TRYING MY BEST! I HAVE OTHER STUDENT LOANS, BILLS, AND I AM TRYING TO FINISH SCHOOL. HOW CAN YOU PEOPLE DO THIS TO SOMEONE?" she seethed.

He went on to explain to her and it basically translated to that her issues were not their problem. All that mattered was that she somehow scrap up enough money to pay them off completely, or else.

Looking up into the mirror of her dresser she saw the fiery energy leave and was replaced by unshed tears. A lump formed in her throat but she was determined not to show any weakness to the devil on the other end of the phone line.

He continued to tell her about the failed payment plan and on and on about how she hadn't returned their calls. She sat down on the edge of her bed, the burning sensation on her skin slowly fading from mind.

"…so when can we expect your payment?" he finally finished.

She gathered all her strength and was determined not to let him pick up on her frustration. Swallowing hard a few times she answered, "Ah, well can I send you something in the meantime because there's just no way I can afford all of it?"

"That will not work Ms. Higurashi. We are through trying to work out payment plans with you. You must pay the full amount" was his blatant reply.

"THEN WHY ARE YOU CALLING ME?" she erupted, "OBVIOUSLY I DIDN'T HAVE THE FULL AMOUNT LAST MONTH SINCE YOU DIDN'T GET THE PAYMENT! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I HAVE IT NOW?" Without another word, she hung up the phone and dropped down on the top of her bed. The tears spilled from her eyes and slid down the side of her face.

She went to wipe her face and nearly knocked herself in the head with the phone still in her hand. "ARGH" she groaned angrily and flung the cordless phone on the floor.

For several minutes, she lay in bed thinking over her situation. She tried desperately to figure a way out of the mess. She was barely past 18 when she moved out on her own and started her studies at Tokyo University. Of course as a young, naïve college student often is, she took out a credit card to help pay for some expenses. At first making payments was easy and she was always on time.

But then it turned out that since she was working so much as well as going to school, she was ineligible for financial aide on the full tuition amount. So now she was stuck with payments for nearly half the tuition for school, making payments on her bills, and gradually sinking deeper into debt as a result from it. Talk about a vicious cycle!

She just needed to get out of college and start her new successful job and then she could pay off all her loans. That was the only dream that kept her going day and night. She sought out more jobs and started working every free minute she had in her schedule between classes and studying.

Kagome had worked everything from a cashier at WacDonalds to a personal assistant to even dog groomer. She currently had a job as waitress at a local diner named Jade's Diner and she was looking for any decent job on the side. It literally meant no time for a social life and definitely no boyfriends.

After several minutes, Kagome rose from the bed. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying and she determined that smelling like frozen meat and fries from the diner wasn't helping her mood either. She padded over to the spot where the phone had landed and hit a number on speed dial.

"Kags!" came the always cheery greeting.

"Hey Sango" she managed to groan.

"What's wrong babes? You okay?" the girl quickly grew concerned.

"Yea, same nonsense with these bill collectors."

"Oh Kagome don't stress yourself. They get paid for being and mean intimidating assholes."

"I know, I'm okay" she lied. "What're you doing tonight?"

"I don't know" the girl laughed back, "What are our plans?"

Kagome smiled at the open invitation. She needed to take her mind off of everything for a change and just forget the miserable world. "I need a stiff drink!" she confessed.

Sango laughed, "K, I'll be there shortly!"

The women hung up and since supper was long forgotten, Kagome decided to go and get a shower in before Sango showed up. She opened her closet door and frowned at the hangers full of nothing but business casual clothing.

"When did I become so damn frumpy!" she sighed.

She pushed around the clothing for a while and decided that a simple pair of black dress pants would be a good start. Next she needed to decide on a shirt. "I wonder how I should dress. It's not like we know where we're going! It's usually dinner or something boring like that."

Deciding to wait on picking out a top until Sango arrived; Kagome grabbed the pants, a fresh pair of underwear, a bra and her towel. She walked into the bathroom and stood under the cascading shower of warm water for a while to ease her tense and sore muscles.

About 20 minutes later she tore herself from under the warm water and dressed with the exception of a top. Instead she wore her comfortable terry robe and walked out drying her hair on the towel.

The doorbell alerted her of Sango's arrival and she quickly walked over to buzz the girl upstairs. Moments later the taller girl was walking through the front door.

"Hey there" they kissed each other on the cheek.

"Hey Kags, how're you feeling?" Sango asked worried.

"Don't worry about" Kagome waved her hand, "It's forgotten. I guess I just got upset since I was so tired from work."

"But what did he say?" Sango persisted.

The women sat on her couch where the continued the conversation.

"Just that they were going to pursue legal action. As in suing me" Kagome explained.

Sango's eyes went wide, "What? Legal action? Suing you? For what? You can't help it that the stupid University doesn't want to help with your tuition!"

"Sango I know" Kagome voice quivered slightly, "Can we not talk about this right now. I just want to forget it all!"

"Sure" she relented, "so what do you want to do then?"

"No idea. I need you to tell me what top to wear since I don't even know where we're going!" Kagome brightened.

"Well you said you needed a stiff drink and today is Friday!" Sango announced happily.

Kagome laughed, "Yea, so what am I wearing?"

They walked into Kagome's bedroom and Sango sifted through her closet.

"Well I say we hit this new club called China Doll" Sango offered still going through her closet.

Kagome scrunched up her face, "Club? You know how I hate those things! Loud music, annoying drunken pervs and fighting!"

"Well this place is new, it's upscale and so it has great security."

"Then how do you suppose we're getting in?" Kagome inquired.

"Because I know the bouncer!" Sango laughed, "And he owes me a favor!"

Kagome was still unsure and the sound of a simple dinner and some chatting sounded fine right about now. But once Sango had her mind made up, that was it!

"What about this?" she pulled a black tank top with wider straps.

"Sango! I wear that under my shirts and blazers!" Kagome frowned.

"Oh stop being such a grandma!" she teased back and went into her closet again. "I swear, when was the last time you got laid? You're so uptight!"

"Well excuse me for not being a whore, and I've never gotten 'laid' as you so eloquently put it!" Kagome retorted.

"Oh right you've only dated those two morons Koga and Hojo. What a weird contrast. One was a total douche-bag and other was a total chick!" Sango laughed.

Kagome paled at the memories. She'd dated Koga in high school and no one ever really understood why. She was bright, beautiful, and full of energy and he was the total opposite. He constantly cut classes, hung out with his drug addict friends and treated her like crap. She broke up with him not too soon after they'd started dating. "Worst 3 weeks of my life" she sourly remembered.

The second person she dated was Hojo. He was sweet, and very much focused on school. The complete opposite of Koga, but it soon became apparent the opposite was too extreme. It was like dating an overly emotional puppy at times. He constantly needed her attention and gradually become more and more needy. She remembered an instance where he wouldn't even walk her home from a late night shift after work because he was too scared of the sketchy neighborhood. That relationship lasted 4 months before she got sick of it.

"At least I was the one doing all the dumping" she sighed.

"Alright granny, what about this?" Sango pulled out a black lace bolero from some unknown and forgotten closet corner.

"Ummm…" Kagome gave her a questioning look. It was lace and therefore see-through, cropped, and only had a single ribbon tie in the middle.

"To go OVER the tank top you blonde!" Sango laughed.


"You are such an old maid sometimes! You won't wear the tank top alone but with a nice pair of fitted jeans and killer heels and this sexy little bolero, you could actually look good!"

"Hey what's that supposed to mean?" Kagome feigned anger.

The two burst out laughing seconds later. "So no black dress pants?" Kagome asked while pulling the fabric from her leg.

"No" Sango ordered, "put on the pair of those dark wash denim jeans I got you for Christmas. I got those for a reason you know!"

"Wait! How are we going to get in the club wearing jeans?" Kagome asked. She wasn't familiar with the protocol but remembered hearing about dress codes.

"Relax. I know the bouncer so no worries on that and besides, they're such a dark rinse and the cut is almost like a trouser, so they look just at good. They make your ass look good and you look so much taller in them especially with your high-heeled black boots" Sango winked.

Kagome rolled her eyes as she grabbed the clothing from her friend. She marched into the bathroom moments later to change.

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My first Inuyasha fic ever! Please R & R!