Hi, it's MP again! Yes, it's another Jesse x River fic, but it's also just a very sweet romance between two people who seem to have all odds against them (including one persistent boss)

Mid season, Takeshi is forced to take a break from racing for his mental health. With Andre on vacation with his family and with no other possible replacement, a shy little redheaded secretary is forced behind the wheel. A sweet romance develops between she and a tall blonde who just happens to be her boss's enemy.

Chapter one- You're Facing…

"Yeah, just take a left adn then the hatch is to your right. Just page Mark on the intercom and he'll let you in... so when do you think this will be done?"

"By six or so, Ma'am. I'm supposed to be installing one on all the teams in order of their races; you and Sledgemamma are first on my list."

"Oh really? That's nice. Well, here's my cell phone number if you run into any difficulties."

"Thank ye' much, Ma'am"

Jesse bowed to the man and continued on her way. He-- Mr. Jackson, that is, had been sent over by the board with some new standard equiptment for all the mechs. He was supposed to install it himself in order to get the wires in correctly... or something. Jesse shrugged as she hurrired down the hall. The man had said something about the equiptment being loudspeakers for the fans, but she hadn't caught everything because his voice was so slow and rough.

She reached her boss's door and knocked quietly,
"Miss Satomi?" Jesse asked quietly as she poked her head into the brightly lit office.

Miss Satomi looked up from her paperwork. She was standing behind her messy desk and looked absolutely frazzled.

"Mark said you wanted to see me… any particular reason?" The red head asked as she took a seat.

Miss Satomi ran a hand through her hair,

"Well… um… I'm in a little bit of a bind and I need your help…"

Jesse nodded,
"Sure! I'll try to handle it if I can. What's the problem?"

Miss Satomi plopped down in her chair and set her chin lazily on her hand,
"Takeshi took a… well… a little bit of a… a brake." she said slowly

"Really? How do you mean? He's still around, I just passed him on the way here."

"Well… I had to give him the week off from racing, he'll just have to work in the background for awhile... He's far too stressed and frankly, that's not good for his mental health."

Jesse thought for a moment,
"I thought you said you would never, ever, ever, EVER--"

Miss Satomi cut her off,
"I know what I said. But the team was suffering because of his lack of focus."

"Okay…" Jesse said, "But I don't see what all this has to do with me…"

Miss Satomi smiled,
"As I was saying. With Takeshi gone, we have an open spot--"

Now it was Jesse's turn to interrupt,
"I bet now you really wish you had kept River here." She said, narrowing her eyes and cocking her head a bit.

Miss Satomi's smile disappeared and she waved her hand, dismissing her comment,
"Anyway, you and I both know something the world doesn't, am I correct?"

Jesse hugged her clipboard,
"That River looks really good in tight jeans?" She blurted, turning bright red and quickly covering her mouth a smidge too late.

"Ye-- Wait, what!?"

Jesse giggled nervously,
"Um-- nothing! Nothing… um… please continue."

Miss Satomi raised an eyebrow, she was completely oblivious to the large crush Jesse had on the tall, thin, blonde, green eyed Canadian pilot.
"Anyway, the thing you and I both know is that you're our secret back up pilot--"

"Wait!" Jesse cried,
"This is what you called me in for!? You want me to replace Takeshi as a forward!?"

Miss Satomi smiled cunningly,
"Well, it is on your contract…"

Jesse's eyes were wide and she stood,
"You just have Liz and Amy race-- or-- or have Andre fill in again-- or Mark! Mark could do it, I'm sure he knows how--"

Miss Satomi stood up and slammed her fist down on the table,
"Listen you! I want three pilots and I'm gonna GET three pilots! Andre's on vacation with his wife and daughter and Mark is barely of the age or stamina to race, besides, he's larger than Takeshi and wouldn't fit into the MECH properly! So YOU are going to race! Do I make myself clear!?" she shouted.

Jesse nodded as she backed towards the door,
"C-Clear as crystal, Ma'am…" She managed to say weakly before she turned towards the door and fled as quickly as her feet could take her. She ran past a confused looking Amy and Liz and then blew between Andre and Mark.

She almost collided into Takeshi as she ran into a dark conference room and threw herself down on a wooden chair, sobbing uncontrollably.

The place where she cried was even vaguely unfamiliar to her. Recently there had been a fire in the Satomi headquarters. Her entire dorm had been scorched along with everything in it. Ever since her parents died from disease, she had been searching for a home…and as soon as she had finally found one… it had burned almost all the way to the ground. She couldn't live there for now, so she had to take her things (her purse, her teddy bear, and a few clothes that Amy, Liz, and even Fantine had given her) and move into the International Headquarters of the IG1-- the very place where teams came from all around the world to practice and to stay for the training season-- and things like that.

So there she sat, slumped over in a terribly uncomfortable position on a hard chair in a dark room with her head in her arms on the wooden table before her. She could hear the pitter-patter of the rain outside; it was a very dreary day, just like her mood, and the room around her seemed to shine every shade of sad gray. She could only cry.

Since when had Miss Satomi become so very mean? Sure, Jesse had heard Miss Satomi bark at Takeshi from time to time, but never, EVER had Miss Satomi snapped at her. While she was crying, her mind began to register the sound of loud boot-steps approaching.

"Miss Martin?" she wiped her eyes as she sat up. Her heart began to thump wildly as her eyes rested upon the most drop-dead-gorgeous man in the world. River Marque.

He stood there in sweatpants and an unzipped jacket with three or four notebooks as well as his black workout shirt clutched in his long, strong hands. His eye shone and the pale light created shadows where his muscles were; his chest bare and his legs so slender and long. His one earring glittered as his head turned and he sat down in the chair next to her.

Jesse didn't want him to know how much she was blushing as she stared at his oh-so-well built body-- she could see that he had been working out recently, because he was shirtless and the sweat glistened on his muscular chest. So, she dropped her head back onto her arms and sniffed.

"I heard that the Satomi HQ burnt to the ground…" he mused quietly,

"So… you, Mark and Satomi are living here for now, huh?"

Jesse sniffed in reply

"What's wrong?" He asked in the silence. She mumbled something and River sighed.

"You know I can't understand that." He said as he got up and knelt down next to her,

"Hello? What's up?"

"I… I'm f-fine," Jesse managed to say shakily.

There was nothing but silence after that and Jesse assumed that he had gone to leave her alone in her misery.

'He's gone... He's really gone… he just left… I'm gl--' She stopped, mid thought (as did her heart) as she felt a warm sensation. She opened her eyes just a crack and realized that River had wrapped his arms around her and had laid his head on her back.

River sighed to himself,
'Her heart is beating fast... heh…' he thought to himself

Some voice in his head said, 'She really is the cutest girl you've ever laid eyes… uh... eye on… she's sweet and beautiful… not at all like those rabid fan girls or those toughies who think they're cool. If you think about it, she's always been nice to you and you love--' River's eyes flew open,

'HOLD IT!' his residential mental skeptic shouted 'Where on earth did THAT come from!?' But, River couldn't deny how his mind and body tingled as he breathed in her perfume.

As River snuggled closer, Jesse could feel her heart race all the way up to her throat and all the guts melt down to her toes. Never had she been so close to him before. His body was so warm! And his pale white skin... it was so soft… She shivered as his soft, blonde hair lightly brushed against back of her neck. His breath tickled her ear and she sighed as her face practically burned,

"Miss Martin?" River mumbled, with his eyes still closed; still completely soaked up in the moment.

Jesse sniffed,

Her voice snapped him out of his stupor and his consciousness finally came back to him,
"What's wrong?" He asked as he sat back on his haunches and tucked a lock of her rusty-red hair behind her ear.

Jesse turned to him so that her knees and her body were facing him and became crimson when she noticed how close his handsome face was to hers. Instead at staring at his perfect face, she stared, red faced down at her knees.

Tomato-face stumbled,
"I… M-Miss Satomi wants m-me to…" she trailed off as tears stung at her eyes, trying to break out and spill down her face.

"Shh…" River mumbled as he pulled out a hanky and handed it to her. Then he got down on his knees, set his left hand to the right of her knee on the wooden chair, and gently lifted her chin with his right hand. Jesse gripped the hanky and held it kind of absentmindedly near her neck.

"She wants me to race in place of Takeshi…" she said quietly.

River drew himself so that his face was a mere inch from Jesse's and he rested his forehead against hers; Jesse could hardly breathe, her eyes wide and her heart beating wildly.
"Tomorrow?" River's question caught her off guard,

"Hmmn?" She couldn't help noticing how warm his breath had felt and how minty-fresh is was. She longed to have him gently touch her lips with his…

"The race, tomorrow. Is that the race Satomi wants you to pilot in?" Jesse sniffed and managed to mumble,


"Have you ever raced in a real IG1 race before?"


"Have you ever raced on a real track against real competitors?"


River gently took the purple hanky from her and wiped Jesse's eyes, his warm, soft hand brushing against hers,
"Do you know who you're racing?" He asked softly.

Jesse sniffed and her lip quivered,
"No… Miss Satomi never told me…"

River chuckled and whispered,
"Don't worry... I'll make sure no one lays a finger on you."

Jesse's eye lit up,
"What? How!? But… but… do you know who I'm racing!?" River smiled,



Jesse realized suddenly that the space between their faces was beginning to rapidly decrease. Her heart thumped so wildly in her chest that she thought it would burst. Colour rose to her cheeks and she felt her breath shorten. She noticed, all at once, that River's face had deepened into a dark burgundy colour.

'Is-- is he blushing?'

River leaned in, his breath tickled her ear as he softly whispered,

"You're facing… Me." He ran a hand through her longish red hair as he stood up; a handsome smirk on his face.

River turned away from the stunned teenage girl to make his leave,

"River, wait!"

River turned and smiled at her, his mind full of her loveliness,
"See you tomorrow, out on the track." He walked out, leaving Jesse, absolutely stunned.

River walked down the hall, a tinge red

"Hey." River looked up at Takeshi with his arms crossed,

"I saw that."

"Saw what?"

"I saw you with Jesse-- holding her." Takeshi said with his arms crossed. River glared at him,

"What's your point? It was a sign of respect and care toward Miss Martin." River said with a smirk

"I know what you're doing." Takeshi spat

"Humour me." He said, squinting his visible eye.

"You're trying to get her to blow the race."

"That's bogus, man. I wouldn't do that. Well, maybe to you, but not to her."

Takeshi huffed at the statement.

"Aren't you supposed to be gone, somewhere far, far away?" River asked his friend

"I'll believe you," Takeshi said,

"About not making Jesse suffer. I know you're head over heals for her and-" As quick as a flash, River had him in a headlock,
"Dude! Be quiet!" He hissed.

"Why should I?" Takeshi asked, his voice muffled.

"Dude, don't you dare tell her that I…" his voice faded as he heard somebody call for Takeshi. Takeshi pulled away from the 'friendly' headlock and ran down the stairs,

"See ya later, bro!"

River made his way further down the hall when someone grabbed his shoulder and spun him around.

"Gyah!" River shouted as he faced Miss Satomi, who had her arms crossed and was tapping her pointed shoe quickly on the floor.

"Good. I've finally found you. Listen blonde boy," Miss Satomi hissed menacingly as Yamma walked up behind her.

"Don't you dare go easy on Jesse tomorrow. I want her first real race to be real! Got that!?" she yelled.

River smirked and almost had to suppress a laugh,

"You're not my superior anymore, Satomi."

"Well I am." River shifted his glare to Yamma who pushed past Miss Satomi, grabbing River's ear,

"We'll talk about this later, kid. Bye, Satomi." With that, Yamma dragged River out by the earring,

"Satomi!" Miss Satomi turned back to River,

"Tell Miss Martin bye for me!"


So? Enjoy it? I hope so. Please please PLEASE review. This is actually going to be a chapter story, so I'll probably post the next chapter soon! Thank you very much for reading!

Mysteria Pearl