7: Maybe You're the One
16:15 – The Third Music Room, Host Club not in session
"Tomoyo-chan is in the competition?" the twins almost popped their eyes out when they saw Hideyo behind the podium.
I nodded, my mouth in a line.
"But won't they find out…?" Hikaru frowned.
"It may be just as well that she comes into the Host Club," Kaoru pondered aloud. "This way we could look after her – just like you, Haruhi."
My eyebrows drew together. It's not as easy as it seems, Kaoru.
"And five!" Mari called, before putting up her hand and signaling four, three, two, one, cue hosts on Camera One.
The lilt of chamber music infiltrated the air and Tamaki-senpai started to introduce the program (it was aptly titled 'Host Call'). I stood with the brothers and Kyouya-senpai by the lights, watching the show unfold.
The twins were muttering between themselves about how some of the contestants could not meet up to the Host Club's standards. Kyouya-senpai was thumbing his folder.
"This is weird," he murmured. I turned to him.
"What is?" I implored.
"I can't find Hakozawa Hideyo in my file," he answered, before looking at me in the eye, making my heart catch in my chest and beads of perspiration prickle my hairline.
"Oh, really? Um, maybe he came in late," I weakly replied, looking down at the floor.
"But I do have a picture of a girl – it happens to be the scholarship student. Oh look, she went to the same junior high as you did."
"Haruhi, let's sit there!" Kaoru brightly tugged on my arm – in good time.
Hikaru winked, "Yeah, the lights are too bright here!"
They then pulled me away from Kyouya-senpai, arms protectively around my shoulders.
"Thanks," I whispered to them, and they grinned.
There was a mixture of emotions rising within me. Guilt, mainly due to the fact that Hideyo wasn't what the twins thought him to be but they were still protecting him because he was my friend. Warmth, since the twins were willing to think about others outside their circle. Fear for the truth to be known to anyone, which also included Kyouya-senpai.
"The rules of the game, Renge-kun!" Tamaki-senpai announced importantly with a sweeping motion of his hand.
Renge winked and lifted her pointer. "We ask all of you a question, and the audience will rate your answers by pressing on a button. The participants with the five highest scores will be in the semi-finals. The participants that have not been selected will leave with consolation prizes from our lovely sponsor Daizo – Everyone's 100 yen shop."
There was a horrified silence.
"Did Renge say anything wrong, Hikaru?"
He looked pointedly at me. "Do you think any one of these people would want to be caught with an item from a budget shop in their possession?"
I scanned all of their faces. With the exception of Hideyo, I believed that the other participants would probably burn their consolation prize when they got home.
The contestants complied with Renge's terms. 90 per cent of them had a look of pure determination etched onto their handsome features, probably motivated by the fact that there were consolation prizes from hell.
"Now, the first question is for Kanegami Haruto – what is the most romantic thing you have ever done for a lady, and why do you think it's romantic?"
The sandy-haired first-year sank into a short reverie before answering, "I gave my fiancée a ruby from Myanmar for her 16th birthday. I think it was romantic because it took a month to find the perfect one, and I had to go through about 70 stones before I chose the gem."
Tamaki-senpai smiled dreamily. "What a lovely thing to do! I wish I had a fiancée," he batted his eyelashes at the air. Mari signaled for Renge to speak, because Tamaki-senpai was clearly not paying attention to her.
"Is that all, Kanegami-kun?" Renge pouted and raised her eyebrows, her eyes wide.
The boy nodded.
"Now," Tamaki-senpai finally caught on, "my lovely audience, do place your votes!"
There was a trill as a large panel with boxes numbered 1 to 20 lit up beside Tamaki-senpai and Renge-chan. Box 1 became pink and the lights went on all the way to Box 15 – and stayed there.
"Kanegami-kun has earned 15 points!" cried the hosts as the audience clapped wildly and cheered. I suspected it was a mere formality because some of the girls had gasped when he mentioned the word 'fiancée'.
They then moved on to Touhi. I looked at the twins, and they were obviously as skeptical as I was. Kyouya-senpai, however, was maintaining his usual façade of coolness, except this time he was suspiciously fingering his folder more actively than usual.
Could it be that he rigged this question so Touhi would get in…?
Nah, I thought. Kyouya-senpai wouldn't do that. What for? There's nothing in it for him.
"This is for Midoribana Touhi," Tamaki-senpai started, nodding and smiling to the fumbling first-year. "Being a host is like making a girl feel special, as if she is your first love. Describe your first love and how you feel about her."
I stole a look at Kyouya-senpai. Yes, he was sliding his index finger across the length of his folder. This was highly unusual and not very calm of him. Very fishy.
"Um," Touhi chewed on his lower lip before staring straight at Tamaki-senpai. "I've never spoken to her, but she has spoken to me. From a distance." He took a deep breath as the audience fell quiet – it seemed as if he was a different person.
"Her music is what spoke to me. It is something that touches your heart – it sometimes even pierces it to the core. My first love would actually be her music, because I got to know it before her. Naturally it led me to her. She is a storyteller with her violin. She can express volumes without words, and she gets to communicate with your inner being before even scratching your surface. I cannot even fathom how I feel about her but I stand in admiration of her. She is someone that I would want to understand deeply for it is impossible for her not to have a beautiful soul, with such a gift."
Some girls had tears in their eyes. Apparently Touhi had scored some points on the sensitivity board. I glanced at Hideyo, who was rather pale – Touhi's deep declaration of how he felt towards 'Tomoyo' was probably too much for my darling junior to handle.
"Let's see how much Midoribana-kun deserves for that answer!"
The audience punched their buttons and the lights on the panel shot up to a 19.
My gaze shot to Kyouya-senpai and there he was, perfectly calm – just clutching his folder serenely, his fingers at their usual stationary bend.
Midoribana Touhi, indeed.
It was the moment I was waiting for. And perhaps the twins were too.
"The question for Hakozawa-kun is – what do you intend to achieve as a host?"
Questions like these sounded easy, but to be able to score well for them was not. I was hoping that Hideyo would give a lousy answer so he could escape from the Host Club, but knowing him, it was hard for him not to try his best even though it was merely a game.
There was a pregnant pause before he answered.
"I've never intended to become a host. I say this because I've never been a very outgoing person.
"But if I were a host, I would want to achieve a real sense of responsibility for my delegates. I don't only want them to feel entertained by me – I would like them to be able to laugh with me and cry with me, talk to me and be comforted by me. I want to be really there for them, not as an object of admiration but as a true friend. That's what I would want to achieve as a host. I would like our relationship to supersede that of a client and host – I would like to be as close as a… sibling, I guess, to my delegates."
And he looked straight at me, and smiled.
15:21 – Three years ago in July
"Tomoyo-chan! I've been looking for you everywhere!" I called, running to the second-year who was digging something in the dilapidated back garden. I had never said anything more than a greeting to this girl so I didn't know her well, and I silently wondered why she was doing weird things like heaving soil.
"Yes, Senpai?" She brushed the perspiration from her brow and drew herself to full height. Her fingernails were caked with dirt and a shovel was in her right hand. I realized that she wasn't digging, but she was filling up a hole in the earth.
"Hayashi-sensei said you left this at her desk," I thrust the exercise book at her and pushed back my long hair. "She wanted me to pass it to you because she knew we'd be having Study Supervisors at three, but since you didn't turn up I thought I'd look for you."
"Oh!" Her eyes widened in recognition at the book and she looked apologetically at me. "Sorry I didn't turn up for club activity. I was busy with this and lost track of the time. Thanks for bringing my book though! I need to wash my hands before I can keep my homework, but I'm not done yet… Would you mind waiting for me? We can go up together then."
"Sure," I smiled at her. "What are you doing?"
"I'm burying Chibi-chan," she replied.
I was silent for a moment. "Who is that?"
She stopped and turned to me. Then she finally said, "Do you know who Tanaka-jiji was?"
I shook my head.
"The warden who lived in school?" she tried again.
A shock of white hair and an always-smiling wrinkled face suddenly surfaced from memory. I nodded.
"He passed away in spring. Chibi-chan was his rabbit and only companion," she went back to packing the dirt again. "I thought since there was no one to look after her I would. Every morning I'd put fresh food and water in her cage and every fortnight I'd give her a bath and change the bedding. But I think she couldn't take the loneliness… This morning when I went to the cottage she was already cold."
Something caught in my chest. "You have a very good heart, Tomoyo-chan."
She shook her head and a smile I could only describe as sorrowful placed itself on her face. "I just understand what it means to be lonely, Senpai."
I didn't know what to say, but she broke the silence.
"Sorry if I said anything to make you feel uncomfortable. Please wait here for me – I'll go wash my hands now," she gave me a cheery grin and sped off.
19:58 – Preparing dinner at the Fujioka residence
"Has Touhi mentioned Tomoyo to you yet?" I quizzed Hideyo as he lowered the fire to simmer the stew. He pulled his pony-tail over his shoulder in thought. I noticed a squeamish look settle slowly into his gentle features.
"Um, actually he has – somewhat. He wants to know if I believe that there can be two people who look almost exactly alike," he mused. "When I said I do – you know I have twins and triplets back home – he asked me if I've ever seen a girl around school that looks like me. I just told him, rather snappily, I've barely been around the school since it's only Wednesday and he stopped asking."
"So you're saying that he's growing suspicious."
Hideyo gave a deep, throaty laugh. "Touhi, as I have found out over the past few days, is quite a dense person. He doesn't grow suspicious, he just… wonders about things. It's not that he's stupid, he is quite gifted in many areas, but… How do I put it nicely…"
"He's a blockhead?" I suggested.
"Yes," Hideyo snapped his fingers in agreement. "That's probably the word. He is habitually forgetful, not quite the party animal but still has a good wit when it comes to joking around with the guys but has no skill whatsoever with women, a hopeless romantic–"
"I thought you said he doesn't put girls as his priority?"
"Yes, I did say that, but it seems to be different when it comes to The One. He's quite fastidious about love. Of course, he admitted shyly that he hasn't gone to talk to her yet. I tried to act like I didn't know that already. Oh, and he's crazy about sports. It probably sums him up as the sensitive-new-age-jock type everyone is raving about nowadays."
"That's a lot to find out in less than a week."
"You need to understand Touhi is a transparent person. You don't even get to observe because everything presents itself blatantly."
"Quite unlike you."
He nodded. "Very, if I may say so."
"Well," I got the bowls out of the cupboard, "you may not say so. You're quite like Touhi."
Hideyo stared. I prattled on.
"The common thing about the both of you is the quest to discover yourselves – your abilities, your strengths. All the doubts are displayed on the shelf once you reveal yourselves a bit deeper."
"What do you mean, revealing ourselves a bit deeper?"
"Like Touhi, you are struggling to find your identity. Touhi's in self-esteem and getting rid of his problem with girls, yours in letting go of the past."
Hideyo was effectively silenced by my statement for awhile. "I have let go of the past. Living with you and Ranka-san is a new chapter in life."
I gave him a tight smile. "You frown when you are doing household chores, especially the kinds that require you to go down on your hands and knees. You condemn the antagonist to hell when you see any form of mistreatment or abuse of anyone on TV or in books, real or fictional – and you genuinely hate the step-mother in Cinderella. Otou-san has prompted me more than once to talk to you about this problem. Can you tell me honestly if you've let go?"
He just chewed on his lip and looked at me sadly.
That night, as we were cracking our brains (him over Chemistry and I over History's case study analysis) I raised The Question.
"Hideyo-chan, you have to tell me honestly. Do you really want to enter the Host Club?"
I felt that I already knew the answer.
"Senpai… You do know that I can never get what I want."
I sighed. "You can if you are willing to."
"I can't break my promise to my father," he frowned, putting his pen down. "I shouldn't have gotten so caught up this afternoon and given an answer that I really meant from my heart. I shouldn't have let the attraction of reclaiming my identity get the better of me. I should have made myself disqualify."
I stared. "Well, you probably should have."
"However," I put up a finger, "I'm still pretty glad you went with how you felt. I don't know how else to put it, but as little as I knew her then, Tomoyo-chan would never compromise what she believes in just to make other people satisfied."
I set down my textbook, my fists clenched. "Why don't you just come clean? I know it's only the first week and I promised to keep your secret, but it's giving me such a huge headache to see you sandwiched!"
He put his head low and took up his pen again. "Just… do your homework, Senpai."
I couldn't sleep that night. I was frustrated. I didn't know how to help Hideyo-chan, and things seemed to be getting worse and worse. I glanced at my clock. It was half past two.
I pushed myself up from the futon and walked over to my door, swinging it open. I heard the steady rhythm of breathing coming from Hideyo as I stepped over him and crossed the living room to the kitchen, where the light was on.
"Otou-san," I greeted, not surprised, as I walked to the sink to get a cup.
He grinned and tapped the kettle. "Have some tea."
"Just about to," I replied, standing beside him. He had just showered, and I caught a whiff of his shampoo. He smelt like Mom, if my memory served me correctly.
"You look like crap," he pointed out. I sighed deeply and admitted, "I believe I do. I've been trying to cover up for Hideyo-chan in school, and it's only been three days. It's taking its toll."
Dad put a palm to the back of my head and swept me to his chest. "Haruhi… Sometimes, you just have to let nature take its course. I heard about today's recording from Kyouya – it seems that he's rather suspicious of Hideyo-chan, actually."
"You didn't tell him, did you?" I drew my head back and fixed my eyes on him in horror.
"Shhh," Dad put a finger to his lips. "Hideyo-chan's sleeping. And of course I didn't tell Kyouya, I know where my loyalties lie. I just warned him not to overwork you. Haruhi, you must understand, Kyouya-senpai only suspects Hideyo-chan because you are acting weird," he gripped my arms lightly.
I looked up at our ceiling. Probably I really should loosen up.
"Haruhi, listen to Otou-san for a moment. Do you want to see Hideyo-chan be a proper boy?"
"Of course. I would be even happier if he could participate in the TV show as himself and not as Hakozawa Hideyo. It's so frustrating to know that he's a boy but having to tell other people that he's actually a girl. Sometimes I get so caught up of watching where I have to put my feet that I get tired and start to sit on people's priva–"
I realized what I was saying and shut up.
"N-Nothing. Slip of the tongue, I'm just tired."
"For a moment there I thought you were going to say 'privates', but you don't go around doing that. I know you too well. Anyway, Hideyo-chan obviously wants to be himself, right?"
"And do you think that his family is a bunch of selfish bastards for restricting him on confessing something so basic such as his gender?" Dad excitedly rambled.
I lowered my voice and said in a fierce whisper, "Obviously!"
"Now, Haruhi, I know you may think Otou-san is despicable for thinking of this, but you have to remember that keeping Hideyo-chan's secret will not do him any good."
"You cannot, on any account, tell him about the physical examination."
Heavens, I had forgotten about it myself.
17:04 – The Third Music Room, Host Club not in session
It was Friday, and the semi-finals were just over. The production unit had developed most of the questions and they bordered etiquette and general knowledge so it was no wonder all the five contestants did very well. Incidentally, there was a mystery tie-breaker which turned out to be a bunch of 'commoner questions' – apparently this was developed by Tamaki-senpai, who thought this would definitely sieve out the cream of the crop because then their knowledge would truly be wide – and Hideyo was the first to be safe. Naturally.
Touhi and the other three contestants battled it out. The boy who was the next successor to Matsunaga Electronics got 'How do you change a light bulb' correct, and was the second one to be safe. Touhi managed to name five instant coffee brands and was hence entered into the final round.
"Hideyo-chan," I smiled to him after Mari signaled the wrap-up. "It seems that you do want to continue after all."
He gave me a tired look. "Actually, I just didn't know how I could avoid insulting my intelligence and was compelled to tell the truth. I mean, who doesn't know how to open a retractable umbrella?"
I was about to reply but couldn't help stopping to stare, as the two contestants who were not selected trudged past me dejectedly with a box of teacups in their hands. The neon pink word 'Daizo' was emblazoned in true commoner fashion on the side of it. I heard one of them mutter, "How am I going to answer to my father?"
The other one responded, "Give it to your chambermaid when you get home. I think I'm going to do that."
"Even my maids wouldn't want teacups from Daizo," was the despair-laden reply.
These rich bastards.
The Hitachiin brothers chose that moment to skip over and Kaoru whispered to Hideyo, "Tomoyo-chan, you were awesome! We're rooting for you for the next round!"
"Yeah, even though we know you're a commoner and it was a given that you'd do really well in the tie-breaker, we didn't say anything because we really hope you'd join the Host Club," Hikaru pumped Hideyo-chan's hand.
"Okay, enough of the congratulatory words, we need to move on to the finals," I caught sight of Kyouya-senpai looking at his watch and was greatly alarmed. The finals were to be filmed on the same day as the semi-finals because the producers couldn't squeeze time to come down the following week. Just as well that I could get back to my lessons as soon as I possibly could.
Kyouya-senpai lifted his head and looked at me. He tapped his watch and offered me a benign smile. "You almost had to add 30 delegations to your debt."
The rules of the game were simple. The participant was to be thrown into a simulation of a Host Club session and the audience would rate his performance. The person with the lowest score would be given a six-month guilt-free shopping voucher at Daizo – Hikaru had remarked that this was the most disgraceful thing that could be owned by anyone whose net worth was over two billion. Kaoru nudged him to shut up, but I went ahead to sarcastically remark that I didn't mind shouldering the disgrace and purposely answer badly, if it was a six-month guilt-free shopping voucher.
These rich bastards could be the death of me.
Touhi was up first. According to Hideyo he was quite enthusiastic about being in the competition. We weren't sure if it was his sportsmanship that was making him compete or if he was just plain afraid of getting discounts at a budget store.
"Hello," blushed the girl sitting beside Touhi. "I'm Kuragemitsu Yuu and she's Nijiaki Aya. You must be Touhi-kun."
He trained his soft brown eyes on her, nodded, and didn't speak a word. She promptly clutched her handkerchief as hearts swam around her head.
We were a distance away with the other two – Hirakawa Masayuki and Hideyo-chan. I pulled the latter away from the crowd and questioned him.
"Hideyo-chan," I nudged my junior, "did you have anything to do with this?" I indicated Touhi's performance.
"No, I have no idea how he got so good," Hideyo's brow furrowed. Then it hit me.
It had to be Kyouya-senpai.
"Touhi-kun!" The girl on Touhi's other side put her hands on his arm. "What hobbies do you have?"
"That's it, he's done for," I shook my head, knowing Touhi's intolerance for female contact.
Hideyo nodded vigorously. "He's gonna die."
Touhi's eyes were closed – but I could see that his knuckles were turning white. He stood up slowly with his eyes still shut, appearing to be in deep thought. Then he opened his eyes, calmly reached under his chair and pulled out a black hardcover case, which (I was quite convinced) held a violin.
"What on earth has Kyouya-senpai been teaching him?" I hissed as Touhi slowly clicked open the case. "He's ruined his personality!"
"Kyouya-senpai?" Hideyo-chan's eyes turned wide. "How did you know?"
"I've observed some weird behavior lately. I'll explain later," I held up a hand, wanting to concentrate on the going-on.
"Apparently as long as Touhi doesn't look at the girl he's fine, Senpai."
"Yeah, I see that."
"Maybe it's some sort of spiritual enlightenment thing and he's trying to search for his real self that is buried deep within the heart of his peaceful soul."
"Have you been going to my dad's bar?"
The guilty silence told me yes.
I wasn't a very musically-inclined person so I couldn't really tell how well Touhi could play but from the way everyone else (including the other hosts) was ogling, he was probably really good.
"Edward Elgar's Romance D'Amour," Hideyo-chan pronounced. "He's good."
The audience were captivated, mesmerized even, by the usually introverted boy's display of talent. Their eyes were glassed over, most of their hands clasped over their chests and their mouths were slightly ajar in awe of the melodious harmonies flowing from Touhi's strings.
He then finished with the echo of the last note hanging in the air before it slowly faded into everyone's memories.
"I play the violin," he finally uttered to the camera, in response to Nijiaki Aya's question.
Immediately, the audience squealed for quite a while and then dove for their rating buttons, hitting Touhi to full marks. I raised my eyebrows, and Hideyo cheered loudly.
"I think he's going to win!" Hideyo grinned happily.
"There's still the electronics guy. But yeah, he can't hold a candle to Touhi, much less you."
"But I bet he can hold a lightbulb."
Hirakawa Masayuki went on next. Nothing was spectacular – except for the fact that he tried to behave like Tamaki-senpai.
It was a bad impersonation. I shall refrain from reliving the horrors of the short minutes that he performed. He apparently perceived Tamaki-senpai as a roving sex maniac. The few males that were in the audience even shouted that he deserved the Daizo voucher for having no originality and no morals. He hung his head in shame as the audience gave him a measly 10 – most of it sympathy points.
"Good evening, Kuragemitsu-senpai, Nijiaki-senpai," Hideyo greeted the two clients (which remained the same throughout for all the three contestants) as he approached the settee. The cameramen trained their equipment on him, and I heard Kaoru and Hikaru marvel in unison, "Wow, she's a pro. Even her voice can go deeper when she impersonates a boy!"
Somehow, after the talk with Dad the previous night, I didn't jump to think of an excuse for Hideyo-chan's identity when I heard such speculation.
"Hello, Hideyo-kun," Yuu smiled shyly. "Please, do call me Yuu."
"You can call me Aya-chan," winked Aya coyly. She was the more flirtatious one of the two.
"All right," Hideyo smiled back and leant into the settee. "Yuu-chan and Aya-chan. I'll remember that," he pulled his ponytail across his shoulder. "How has your day been?"
"We've been busy," Aya replied, pinching her nose bridge. "We had to come here after club practice."
"But we're not complaining," Yuu quickly said.
"Ah, it's all right, I understand," Hideyo continued giving his winning smile. He appeared extremely comfortable with the girls, as if the camera and audience weren't there. "Yuu-chan and Aya-chan are in which club?"
"We're in the Art Club," the girls answered.
"Wow. That's cool. I don't have a flair for art," Hideyo put a palm to his cheek – this was an improvement because Tomoyo would've put both her hands to her cheeks and that would really be girly. "I can't draw to save my life."
"We'll help you!" Aya enthused. Hideyo laughed and responded, "It's all right, I don't think there'll be any life or death situations that require me to draw anyway."
The girls giggled and Yuu voiced, "Hideyo-kun, you're so straightforward. Even yesterday's answer was a matter of fact."
"It doesn't help to not be frank," Hideyo turned to her and smiled. "My sister always said you have to be frank with women even though most of the time they want to hear only the nice things," he laughed heartily.
"You have a sister?"
Hideyo chuckled. "Actually, I have six."
"No wonder you seem so much like a lady."
"You think so?"
"Oh, yes. You even look like a lady."
"Is that a compliment?"
"Of course. But you're also pretty as a boy."
"How do you keep your skin so smooth?" Yuu enviously eyed Hideyo's cheek.
"And your hair is to die for, what do you do with it?" Aya boldly stroked her fingers along his ponytail.
"Drink lots of water and eat plenty of vegetables. Avoid fatty foods. It helps for the hair too. But there are some products I can recommend you!" Hideyo was getting excited. (Bad sign.) "And you shouldn't put conditioner on your scalp because it may result in hair loss."
"Really?" Yuu was quite horrified and her hand flew to her scalp. "Oh, no!"
"Don't worry, it's not too late. Your hair still looks very healthy," Hideyo chortled.
"Oh, assess my hair too!" Aya cried.
"You have slightly frizzy hair… Is your hairbrush plastic?"
"Oh no," Hideyo bit his lip in concern. Almost all the girls in the audience gasped and started to finger their hair to check if it was frizzy.
"But it was a gift from a Thai diplomat, with a very well-made bronze body that has an embossed elephant on the back. The plastic is very gentle on my scalp."
"Yes, that may be so, but plastic fibers will cause static when they rub on your hair so your hair becomes frizzy. Do change to a wooden hairbrush, it will be much better for your hair. And comb the lower end of your hair first to remove the knots instead of combing from the top and tugging at the knots – you may damage your follicles."
"You're so knowledgeable, Hideyo-kun!" Yuu sighed contentedly.
"Thank you. Feel free to ask me anything and I'll try to help. I've learnt a lot from my sisters."
Aya caught Hideyo's eye and her expression changed. "Hideyo-kun, why is one of your eyes green? I don't remember it being green just now."
"Oh!" Hideyo exclaimed, immediately hyperventilating. I had to resist a sigh. "Really? One of my contacts must have fallen out! Quick, help me find it!"
"You wear colored contacts?" Yuu probed.
Hideyo nodded, his eyes scanning the floor. "I have perfect eyesight so I wear contacts for pure cosmetic purposes."
The girls slowly turned their heads (Hideyo was still fidgeting in between them, looking for the missing lens) to look at each other. Their visions locked and suddenly they squealed, hugging Hideyo tightly.
"Please, please come to the Host Club!"
"It needs talents like you!"
The female audience lost control and stampeded towards their new favorite.
"Look at my hair, Hideyo-kun!"
"Do I need a manicure?"
"I think I stepped on your contacts!"
Despite the nagging worry about his identity at the back of my mind, I couldn't help but smile at his success.
He'd be terrific.
Author's note: I really sincerely most honestly apologize for the extremely long hiatus. I'm back! Just two more chapters to the closing, so thanks to all who reviewed, favorite-d, author alert-ed – I love you all and thanks for your support. Sorry if this chapter didn't meet up to your standards :P I really did try my best!