A Woman's Worth

Always being the bridesmaid and never the bride is getting Mimi down, so her three less than dependable roommates decide to take matters into their own hands. But, hey, when you're desperate, you're desperate. AU

Disclaimer: I don't own. Including the title. "A Woman's Worth" is a song by the lovely and talented Alicia Keys.

Author's Note: I know, I know, shouldn't be starting another story. But in case you can't tell, I love writing romantic comedies. I can't help myself….

She walks the mile; makes you smile, all the while being true

Don't take for granted the passions that she has for you

You will lose, if you choose, to refuse to put her first

She will and she can find a man who knows her worth

"A Woman's Worth" by Alicia Keys

"I can't find my tie."

"Well, what does it look like?"

"They all look the same—black!"

"Move, will you? You're hogging the mirror!"

"Get your own fucking mirror—!"

"Boys—," she interrupted hopefully.

"Where the hell is my tie?"

"Who used up all the hair gel?"

"What do you need more for? One match could set your whole head on fire—,"

"Boys!" she tried again, irritated.

"Are you wearing my tie?"

"If I was wearing it, it wouldn't be yours now, would it?"

"Give me back my tie, you bastard!"

"Stop shoving! I'm almost done—give me five more seconds—,"

"But I was here first! You wait five seconds—!"

"Boys!" she screamed.

They stopped, guilty, frozen in action.

Tachikawa Mimi, primly dressed in a bright orange satin gown, stood at the door of the bathroom, where her three roommates were currently crammed, pushing and shoving in their hurry to get ready. Her soft, dirty blonde hair had been pulled up into an extravagant bun, wrapped with orange ribbons and tiny white flowers. She wore a corsage on her right wrist, unadorned left hand gripping a beautifully arranged bouquet to compliment the entire ensemble.

"Oh," sighed Takaishi Takeru, the one hogging the mirror. He beamed at Mimi. "You're a vision."

"A bright, orange lollipop vision," Yagami Taichi added, returning to shoving Takeru out of the way so he could check his hair again.

Motomiya Daisuke contributed lowly, "Absolutely lovely, you know, apart from the look of pure, unadulterated hatred on your otherwise gorgeous face…."

Mimi stared between the three of them, calmly repressing the urge to murder her three useless friends. "Get in the car."

"I thought we were going with the taxi?" Taichi wondered aloud.

She shrieked and tried to pounce on him, fingers stretched like claws, but Daisuke managed to grab her by the waist and haul her towards the door.

Takeru tugged on Taichi's sleeve, shaking his head, "Please don't provoke her."

"Don't look at me. I didn't do anything. She's the one all bent out of shape because of this wedding."

"Then let's do our best to get through it as painlessly as possible, okay?"

Taichi frowned, carefully combing through dark brown hair with his fingers once more. "Okay, let's go."

Grumbling and nit-picking, the unusual quartet of friends got into Daisuke's car and drove to the church, weaseling in and out of traffic and sharp corners, risking bodily harm to get to the service on time. Daisuke parked towards the end of the lot while Mimi panicked over a loose tendril of hair that had slipped out during the ride. Takeru poked his finger with the pin trying to fix it for her, so Taichi had to take over.

"Stop moving," he said when she kept squirming.

"Can we do it while we walk?" she asked, already walking away. He had no choice but to chase after the woman, holding onto the loose strand of hair, forcing her to be still once they reached the sidewalk outside the entrance of the church. "Hurry up," she pestered, nervous.

"Done!" he declared just as she was about to step inside.

Relieved, Mimi gathered up the skirt of the bright orange gown and shot through the door, galloping down the center aisle and coming to a stumbling halt at the altar, where the two other bridesmaids had already gathered. She patted down her hair, smiling sweetly, smoothing her dress.

The boys took their seats on the bride's side, though none of them really knew the couple that well at all. Mimi was the common factor here, and she had squeezed out invitations for them, knowing how interesting wedding receptions could be for three bachelors looking for a night of fun and good food. In fact, whenever one of Mimi's friends got married or she was hired to cater another wedding, she always made sure to bring her roommates along, and they always went wherever Mimi's cooking was going to be served.

She hated to admit it, but they were her rock. Sad, but true. After all, if it hadn't been for the three of them, she'd have been out on the street, living in her wedding catering business van. Instead, they'd opened up their apartment and even moved things around so she could have her own room. It had been a sweet gesture, and she'd taken it gratefully, sure she'd be able to afford her own place in a few months.

That was five years ago.

Five years, and Mimi was still waiting for the love of her life to show up and whisk her away.

"Uh-oh," Daisuke whistled lowly from the congregation, noting the look on his friend's face.

Takeru made a face. "I knew this was going to happen…."

Taichi sighed, sinking low into his seat. "This is embarrassing."

The other two ignored him, eyeing Mimi carefully throughout the rest of the ceremony, and as soon as it was over, they popped out of their chairs.

"Come on," Daisuke said, gesturing to Taichi, who reluctantly dragged himself out of his chair and followed them uninterestedly.

"Where'd she go?" Takeru asked, looking around.

They went in search of her, asking people, growing more worried with each passing minute. And then, while walking by the bridal room in the back corner of the church, they heard distinct sniffling and stopped. Takeru sighed. Daisuke and Taichi exchanged looks.

Takeru didn't bother knocking. He opened the door to find Mimi scrunched up in the corner of the tiny parlor, knees pressed to her chest, face bent away. He smiled sadly, crouching beside her, touching a shoulder. She turned and buried her face in his shoulder, continuing to sniffle.

"Just forget about it, Mimi," Daisuke told her. "Your time will come."

"When?" she wailed, crying even harder.

"Come on, you'll ruin your makeup," Takeru said, wiping the tears off her cheeks.

"I don't care," she protested stubbornly. "Nobody notices me anyway…."

"Christ," Taichi rolled his eyes, shoving hands into the pockets of his suit pants, leaning against the closed door. "Why should anyone notice you with the way you're acting now?" he demanded, annoyed by the melodrama.

Takeru shot him a look of warning. "What he means is," the blond corrected, "you shouldn't let yourself get so discouraged. You never know who'll walk in the door."

The trio looked up, staring at the door.

Daisuke gestured frantically at the eldest of the four, who still leaned against the wall, blocking the door. Taichi straightened, moving away moodily.

The door remained closed.

Mimi wrinkled her nose, tears forming.

"Well, I didn't mean literally," Takeru recovered uncomfortably.

"Oh, let's face it," Mimi hiccupped. "This is my destiny."

"You're not that old," Daisuke reassured. Takeru gave him the look of death and he backed down. "What I meant was—,"

"No, no, you're right," Mimi interrupted. She wiped her face, calming down. "I'm much too old to be acting like this. I am a mature, respectable young woman, and I am confident in this. I don't need a man to tell me that. And I'm certainly not so desperate as to—well, I'm bigger than this. Right?"

They nodded robotically, too scared to suggest otherwise.

"Good." Mimi stood up, checking for running mascara in the mirror. She blinked her eyes dry, smiled, and then whirled around, heading for the door. "Dinner's going to be served soon. If they had let me cater, it would have been much better, but we all have to settle for lesser things sometimes, don't we?" She left the door open. "Hurry up, boys!"

Takeru was the first to break the lingering silence, "She is getting kinda old…."

"I think we should do something," Daisuke said.

"Don't even," Taichi warned.

"But we're her best friends!" the young man protested. "We know the kinds of things she likes, what she looks for in men. We could be the best judges here."

Takeru sat up, blue eyes brightening and smile widening. "It's perfect," he agreed. "Being her matchmaker—I know a lot of guys who could be good."

"We'll do preliminary tests on all of them—you know, background checks, make sure they're not freaks or stalkers or perverts or anything. We're much better judges. After all, we are guys; we know how we think."

"Thus, we can cure Mimi's Always-the-Bridesmaid-Never-the-Bride Syndrome, just like that," Takeru snapped his fingers for added emphasis. "Daisuke, this could be the best idea you've ever had."

"And I will have nothing to do with this fantastic display of insanity," Taichi spoke for the first time, bowing out of the room.

"But it's for Mimi, Taichi," Daisuke said. "We all want what's best for her, don't we? We all care about her. She's like the sister we've never had."

Taichi stared at him. "Daisuke, you already have a sister."

"Fine. Mimi's the sister we've always wanted. And as her surrogate brothers, we have the responsibility to make sure she's happy and well taken care of. And you can't tell me you don't want that for her, Taichi. Deep down, you care about what happens to her, admit it."

Taichi didn't say anything, scowling uneasily.

Takeru stood up. "You in or not?"

He grimaced, hesitating. And then he sighed, making a mental note to hide the evidence of his involvement in case Mimi turned out to be less receptive than these two idiots thought.

"Fine," he grumbled. "But don't say I didn't warn you."

"Perfect!" Daisuke grinned. "Then let Operation: Get Mimi Hooked Up begin!"