Chapter 1

Harkua Tenoh raced down the coast line road. The warm wind in her hair as the ocean sparkled in the distance. She had one arm over the empty passenger seat; the other was deftly controlling the speeding car.

The road curved and she saw her destination. The private villa was painted in brilliant sunshine. The sunshine glowed off the white walls; the ivy covered balcony. There was only one road that led to this place; and it was the one she was on.

Parking her car she sprang over the door and collected the bouquet of flowers from the passenger seat. Strolling lazily into the house she left the door open behind her. No one was here; save for her and Michiru.

Making her way up the stairs; she trailed a hand along the smooth wooden banister. The landing spilled out into the hall. She smiled at the sight of Michiru's paintings. The hall was decorated on either side with them. They were priceless works of art; which would sell for hundreds of thousands; but neither woman wanted to sell them. The art was a part of their private, happy lives together. They wouldn't sell it.

The room at the end of the hall was Michiru's studio; which was connected to their bedroom.

Haruka paused at the end of the hall; she thought of knocking, but brushed it off. She opened the door and paused. Sunlight fell in through the open balcony doors. Michiru's easel and painting desk were stationed beside a large canvas. The masterpiece was half-completed. It looked as though she had left in the midst of working.

"Michiru?" Haruka called out and listened. The house was quiet. "Michiru?"

Making her way through the studio; she frowned. It was empty. Haruka crossed to their bedroom and it too was empty. On a whim she crossed to the closet and frowned. There was too much space in their walk-in closet. Something was missing.

It took a few seconds before it hit her; Michiru's side of the closet was empty. Haruka frowned and walked in to the space. She reached out a hand; expecting to feel the silk of Michiru's gowns; the soft cotton of her sun dresses; the feel of her clothing. But instead Haruka's hand touched air. There was nothing to feel.

Frowning even more; Haruka backed out of the closet and crossed to the telephone beside their bed. She dialed the number for Michiru's cell phone. It went directly to voicemail.

Haruka left a message and dialed another number.

"Tskino residence, Shingo speaking."

"It's Haruka, is Usagi there?"

"No, she's out with Mamoru-san. Do you want to leave a message?'

"No." Haruka hung up and frowned at the phone. She dialed another number.

"Kaioh-Tenoh residence, Hotoru speaking."

"It's Michiru there?"

"No, Haruka-papa. Michiru-mama isn't here."

"Has she called?"

"No. Is something wrong?"

Haruka looked at the empty closet, "No, sorry."

"Are you still coming home on Friday?"

Haruka sighed, "Yes. If Michiru calls, tell her to call me."

"Okay. See you Friday, I'll pick you up."

Haruka flinched at the thought of her daughter driving. She'd inherited Haruka's passion for speed.

"I look forward to it." Haruka said and hung up. She sat on the bed; staring at the boquet of flowers in her hand. They were Michiru's favorite.

The phone rang; she snatched it. "Michiru?"

"No, sorry."

Haruka frowned at the voice, "Cal?"


Haruka was confused for a second, "How'd you get my number?"

"You gave it to me; at the party, on Monday. Don't you remember?" Cal sounded playfully annoyed. "Or did you drink too much?"

"I never drink." Haruka snapped and the girl on the other end laughed. It was the laughter that triggered the memory. "Calisto, now's not a good time."

"Oh?" Cal's tone became serious. "You and that gorgeous woman of yours having trouble?"

Haruka frowned, "No, why?"

"She looked annoyed with you on Monday. I guess for talking to me."

Haruka glared at the flowers in her hand. "It was just about cars."

"Yeah, well I guess she thought it was more then that."

Haruka tried to think back to Monday. Michiru hadn't said anything to indicate she was upset. The empty closet loomed in Haruka's mind. But perhaps she had just made her statement.

The idea was rejected instantly. Michiru and she had been through too much to fall apart over meaningless car-chatter. Haruka had never hidden her flirtatious nature; Michiru had never objected to it. So why now? Why, after all they had been through, did she care?


Haruka blinked, "Sorry, Cal. I was thinking."

"Yeah, you do that." Cal's tone was teasing.

Haruka found herself smiling, "One of us has to."

"Bah!" Cal scoffed, "Thinking is too hard."

Laughter bubbled out of Haruka, "So you called for a reason?"

"We agreed I could see your house; it's one of the best art treasures on the island. I was hoping to get a peak at it before you left on Friday."

Haruka looked at the flowers in her hand. "Sure, come on over."

"Oh, wait, I don't want to piss off your woman."

Haruka sighed, "Don't worry, you won't, she's…" The word choked in her throat.


"Michiru's gone."

Cal was quiet, "Oh shit…I'm sorry."

It sank in at that moment, "She's gone."