Note: In the game AWL, I had thought Muffy was annoying. But the more I think about her, the more I want to write about her character. Maybe sometime I can write a full-fledged story based on her. But for now, I'll put out this one-shot.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harvest Moon. So, there.
The young woman had been waiting in the rain for quite a while, the taxi driver assumed. Her long blonde tresses were weighed down with the onslaught of the rain, and her emerald eyes seemed downcast in the shadow of the evening. She clung to her purse with both hands, her knuckles white from the effort. And her red cocktail dress and fancy heels were clearly not suited for walking the streets on stormy nights.
But, the taxi driver shrugged, a customer was a customer, and who was he to judge?
"A bit late to be roaming the streets, eh?" he commented as she opened the door and squeezed herself into the back seat.
"How much will it cost for you to drive me to the port?" she whispered, shivering.
"The standard amount, I would think," he replied.
She nodded, and huddled herself by the rear window, shuddering. Opening her purse, she fumbled about it before she brought out a slightly damp handkerchief. She wiped the mascara-stains from her face and brought out her compact mirror, checking to make sure the tell-tale signs of rain and tears didn't show.
The taxi driver glanced at her through his rearview mirror, then asked, "Why are you going all the way to port? Are you going to meet with a fiancé or something?"
The glare he received plainly said that she wasn't.
The next few blocks were passed in silence. Eventually, the driver lost interest in his mysterious passenger, and she enjoyed a temporary invisibility. Listlessly, she gazed out the window, watching building after dreary building pass by. Watching the rain fall and the lightning flash was strangely soothing, she thought. Rainbows and sunrises and snow…they were too pure. What could better describe the confusion that was human life than a storm? The glittering beauty of the deadly lightning and the endless fall of the rain seemed imperfect, angry, and real.
It was as if nature herself was declaring the absurdities of the world.
She buried her head in her arms, desperate for warmth to penetrate her soaked body. Coming to the city had been nothing but a complete and total waste. She should have braced herself for another disappointment. But, fool that she was, she had expected a proposal.
She laughed silently to herself. Ha! Since when did men care enough to settle down with one woman? No, they were all nothing but a pack of hungry wolves, ready to devour young girls' tender hearts. Women had been labeled as the weaker race, but she knew that wasn't true. The men were merely crueler.
But, to play the devil's advocate, she had set herself up for this. It was she who had played the part of the charming blonde, dressed to impress and willing to behave. It was she who had searched fervently all these years for her special someone, her soul-mate. She had chosen to believe in the ideal of the hero, the dream of the perfect man that manifested all those romance movies and novels that had made it all seem possible.
Lies, lies, lies! That was all those stories were! She bit her lip and closed her eyes shut, berating herself for ever believing in Mr. Right. She was independent; she didn't need a man to feel complete. She didn't need a city boyfriend. She only needed herself.
But that, too, was a lie.
What did she crave? What did she long for every passing night? Why did she cry in the lonely hours of the early morning, when no one was awake to hear her sobs? Why did she, of all people, have to feel this loneliness so acutely?
Because, in truth, what she had wanted was very simple.
"Here's your stop," the driver announced, coming to a jerky halt. The passenger got up awkwardly, smoothing out her tight dress and picking up her purse. She looked through it until she brought out a small wallet and counted out the money she owed.
"Good day, Miss," the driver nodded, accepting the money. "Oh, and one more thing. If you're going to walk about in the rain, you might as well use an umbrella. I happen to have an extra, so you can take it."
The black umbrella was handed to the girl through the window of the car, and she murmured a small thank you that could barely be heard over the roaring of the wind. Once the taxi had sped off, she opened the parasol and started towards the ships. The midnight ship to Mineral Town would arrive shortly, and from there she could make it back to the Valley. She could only stand and wait under the umbrella, alone with nothing but her memories to keep her company. And, she thought bitterly, they seemed to have a rather disappointing pattern.
Man after man, year after year…the more she sought for someone to cling to, the lonelier she became. Why was the world so twisted? Why couldn't she manage to fulfill one childhood dream? Was that too much to ask?
The ship came into port, and she walked forward slowly, not even bothering to rush out of the rain. She hadn't the energy for that tonight. As she boarded, she eyed the horizon. The storm was dying down now, and the lightning seemed to have ceased. But still, the waves were rocky enough to be of concern.
The captain explained with a laugh that it was a miracle he had made it through those waves on time. But, due to the dangers of the storm, it would be best if they spent the night in the city.
She didn't want to consent to his logical demand. And yet, she found herself smiling and agreeing with the captain of the ship. But as he left, she stared at the city hatefully, full of bitterness and regret. All this place had offered her was disappointment. Why, oh why, did she have to spend a night in its walls?
But it was ridiculous to throw her anger on a whole city, and she started towards the nearest hotel. Tomorrow, this vengefulness would pass. Tomorrow, this would be nothing but a distant memory. Tomorrow, her heart would once again yearn for love.
Upon arriving at the hotel, she closed the umbrella and sighed. Unfortunately, it hadn't really shielded her from the storm all that much anyway. Her free hand knocked impatiently on the door, and her green eyes looked at the sky searchingly. And with the departure of the clouds from the starless sky, the pain and anger that had been swelling within her was now muted by the dull throb of heartache. It left a taste of bitter disappointment that she recognized all too well.
The girl reached into her purse and brought out a cheap cell-phone, answering it meekly.
"Hey, girl!" a cheerful female voice exclaimed through the speaker. "Why haven't you called? Did he propose yet? C'mon, tell me all the details!"
She stared out at the street blankly, trying to reply, but finding her voice couldn't produce any sound.
"Muffy? Muffy, honey, are you there?"
The blonde sat herself down on the steps to the hotel, and covered her face with her hands in shame. Sobs escaped her throat and she began to cry without restraint. Strangers in the street gave her strange glances as they continued on in their lives, oblivious to her pain.
"Is something wrong? Are you crying? Muffy—"
The phone hung up as her pale fingers closed it shut.
All she had ever wanted was for one man, just one man, to say, "I love you."
And she wanted him to mean it.