Author Note: Mako-chan time! I hope that this one will be a lot more fun and less angsty than Firebird. Mako and Neph always stike me as a fun couple. (Although I may have gone a bit overboard with Neph this time...oh, well.) Enjoy!
Makoto, dressed in her nicest clothes, felt depressed.
Once again she and Ami were the only ones at the table without dates.
Usagi and Mamoru sat side by side across from her, arguing about which entre they were going to share; Mina and Kunzite were at the end of the table, Mina telling Rei a story about some impossible thing that happened to her in the shoe department. Rei and Jadeite weren't technically a couple, according to Rei, but they definitely acted like one. Jadeite was seated between her and Rei, listening to Mina's story, but Mako caught him glancing at Rei as often as he did Mina. It had been a week since Jadeite had returned to ask for forgiveness and Rei had blackened his eye, but she could tell by the way Rei was looking at him (when she thought no one else was looking) that he wouldn't have to wait much longer for her to give in.
Makoto would never have admitted it, but she thought the way he waited for her was romantic.
Ami was listening to Mina's story half heartedly, as was Kunzite – who'd heard it five times that day already.
Mako stirred her food listlessly and Rei had to say her name twice to get her attention.
"I was telling them that you had an interesting story about what happened to you two weeks ago," Rei repeated, "about that guy that bumped into you."
"Oh, yeah," she brightened.
"Do tell, Mako-chan," Mina barged in, "was he cute?"
"Let her tell it, Mina," Rei reproved.
"Uh, he's ok, I don't know," Mako fibbed, "I didn't really notice."
"So he was cute," Mina pursued, "you always notice a boy, Mako-chan. Don't try to pull one over on me, I'm a pro."
Kunzite cocked an eyebrow about this, but said nothing.
"Well, ok, he was good looking," Mako admitted, "but he's a real jerk – looks only go so far."
"Very true," Mina agreed.
"Would you let her tell the story already!?" Rei cried in exasperation.
"I am letting her tell it," Mina countered.
"Ladies, please," Kunzite interrupted, "let Kino-san begin."
Everyone looked at Mako. She turned a bit red.
"Uh, well. I was walking from my shop through the park to make a delivery to the Mitsubishi office, and I'm just minding my own business when this guy runs right into me, I mean he practically stepped on me!"
"He must have been very tall," Jadeite commented wryly and earned a jab in the ribs from Rei which he suffered with good humored silence.
"Yeah, he was," Mako said, not noticing, "he was probably about as tall as Kato-san."
"He must have been good looking, too," Kunzite commented.
Mina snorted into her coke.
"Anyway," Mako continued, "he didn't apologize or anything, he even acted like he thought I should apologize to him for being in his way. Well, he ran off and I said good riddance, but on my way back through the park who do you think taps me on the shoulder?"
"Creepy," Mina commented.
"What did he want?" Ami asked in her soft voice. She was leaning her hand on her cheek.
"He asks me, if you can believe it, for a favor." Mako exclaimed, "he wanted me to help him win some bet with his friends. Something about pretending to be his girlfriend. Anyway I told him to get lost, but he gave me his card and told me to call him by the end of the month if I changed my mind."
"How weird," Rei remarked.
"He wanted you to pretend to be his girlfriend?" Mina exclaimed, "That's kind of romantic."
"Are you serious?" Rei muttered. Jadeite hid a smile behind his hand. She was in a rather prickly mood tonight because, against her better judgment, she'd allowed him to kiss her and Mina had seen them.
"Why did he want you to do that?" Ami asked.
"I don't know," Mako answered, "but now that I think about it, he did look kind of desperate."
"Do you still have the card?" Kunzite asked. Mako nodded and handed it to him. He took his glasses out of his pocket and scrutinized the card.
Everyone turned to look.
To their surprise he handed the card to Jadeite, who took one glance at it and laughed.
"Poor Kino-san," he chuckled.
"Do you know this guy?" she asked, surprised.
"Yes, unfortunately," Kunzite replied, sharing a glance with Jadeite.
"Neph went to school with us," Jade explained, "he was in the same grade as me, even though he's almost a year older. We formed a club during my sophomore year with a freshman named Zoisite, and we all got to be really good friends."
"What kind of club? You never told me about this."
"If I told you I'd have to kill you," Kunzite replied to Mina, in complete seriousness.
"Just wait," she vowed.
"You talk like you haven't seen him for a while," Ami put in.
"I haven't," Jadeite answered, "we sort of lost touch after we graduated from college. He was always a bit of a wild child, but I read about him in the paper every once in a while. And sometimes he calls me when he's drunk or in trouble."
"Me too." Kunzite sighed.
"Wait, in the paper?" Mako countered, "Is he some kind of criminal?"
"Exactly," Kunzite answered, "he needs to be locked up."
"He's not," Jadeite broke in, "he's rich and his parents spoiled him, so he doesn't know how to control himself. If he made a bet with you, though," he added, turning to Mako, "he'll keep his word. He's the most honest person I've ever met."
"I don't want to make a bet with a crazy person," she answered.
"I want to know what he's up to," Mina countered, "he sounds interesting."
"I'll call him, if you like," Jadeite offered, "I've got his number."
"Mako-chan, come on," Mina begged, "you don't have to help him with his bet, but I want to know what it is."
"Curiosity killed the cat." Kunzite muttered.
"I have never admired that saying," Mina commented haughtily.
"I don't know, Mina," Mako said, "I just -"
"Oh, call him!" Usagi squealed.
Everyone turned to look at the opposite end of the table.
"I didn't know you were through bickering about dinner," Rei chimed sweetly.
"Yes, we are." Usagi answered, "And I think Mako-chan should call this person so we can hear what the bet is."
"Please," she and Mina chorused.
"Oh, alright!" Mako exclaimed, surrounded by bobbing blue eyes.
"But after he tells me about the bet, that's it," she added, "I'm not going to agree to it."
"Perfect." Usagi and Mina answered, again simultaneously.
"Why do I have a bad feeling about this?" Mako murmured.
Kunzite shook his head sadly.
Nephrite paced the grand receiving room in his parent's Tokyo mansion. Built to mimic Western houses; the mansion had close to thirty rooms, an indoor tennis court and swimming pool, two garages – one specifically for his dad's collection of antique convertibles – and two kitchens.
"Nearly a month, all I have is one week left before they come, damn it!" he thundered.
He sat on the edge of his bed and put his head in his hands.
"This is the last time we are having this conversation, Nakamura," he remembered his parents' orders on the phone three weeks ago.
You have got to shape up or your father is going to have a heart attack. How can he possibly show his face in the office when you are acting like this?
"I don't know," he'd said.
"Well you'd better think of a way to prove you've made a significant change in your life style, or he will most likely cut your allowance or cut you off entirely."
The allowance was serious – without an allowance he couldn't continue to afford dating the model...or the female race car driver.
"Clean up your act, find a serious job, a serious hobby and a serious girlfriend...only one, by the time we come home or -"
"What am I going to do!?" he howled, flinging himself back onto his bed.
He looked at his tie lying despairingly over the back of his chair.
"I could hang myself," he mumbled, "Oh, Nephrite, how did you end up in this mess? Why must you be persecuted? Can I help it that I was born too handsome to live?"
His phone rang suddenly.
"You've interrupted a dying man's soliloquy," he answered, "this had better be good."
The caller said something sharp.
With a snap he sat up and brushed his hair out of his face.
"What? Well it's about time! What took you so damn long!?"
The voice on the other end sounded peeved.
"Wait, where are you? Don't argue, just tell me...uh huh. Wait there, I'll be there in ten minutes."
He grabbed his jacket and car keys.
"Thanks, darling, you'll never regret this!"
"I'm not going to do it!" Mako screamed into the phone as four pairs of eyes watched her in anticipation.
"Rats! He hung up." She fumed.
"What did he say!?" Mina shouted.
"He's coming over to my house." Mako replied, slightly shocked.
"What do you mean 'woohoo'?!" Mako shouted, "I don't want him here!"
"We get to meet him!" Mina sang.
She and Usagi danced happily through the room while Rei and Ami sat on the couch and exchanged glances.
Not long after this the door bell rang.
No sooner had she opened the door than a tall man with long brown hair and sparkling eyes flashed into the room as though he owned the house.
"Hello ladies," he smiled when he saw Usagi and Mina staring at him, wide eyed.
"I'm Nephrite, nice to meet you all. You didn't tell me you had such pretty friends, uh -"
He looked around at Mako.
"What is your name, anyway?"
"Kino Makoto, and I didn't invite you over by the way, just in case you were wondering."
"I wasn't." He grinned.
"So, you're going to help me, right?" he said, plopping down on the couch between a startled Rei and Ami.
"More cute friends! Do you always have this many pretty girls at your house, Kino-san?"
"No!" Mako snapped, her face looked dangerous.
"Excuse me, but who are you?" Rei asked coldly.
"Whoa, you're an ice queen aren't you?" he asked, "The name is Nephrite Nakamura, what's yours?"
"None of your business," she replied.
"Ok, what about you, sweetie?" he said, turning to Ami who blushed scarlet and tried to sink into the couch.
"Hey, Kino-san, you aren't all lesbians are you?"
Mako picked up a teapot.
"Because I'm cool with that too," he exclaimed, then ducked into Rei's lap as Mako hurled the teapot at his face. It shattered on the wall behind him.
"What – do- you – think – you – are – doing?" Rei hissed, grabbing his hair and jerking his face up.
He jumped off the couch and tripped into Usagi and Mina. All of them fell on the floor.
"Well, the twins are fun at least," he commented as he found both girls on top of him. They blushed and scrambled off.
"So," he said, still lying on the floor and folding his hands on his stomach, "Kino-san, are you going to help me?"
"Why the hell would I help you?" Mako growled, "You're an arrogant jerk."
"Aw, Kino-san, you just haven't warmed up to me yet. But you will. Everyone does." he winked at Usagi and Mina who had the audacity to giggle.
"I'm leaving, Mako, call me if you need any help getting rid of the stain on your carpet," Rei quipped with a penetrating glare at Nephrite.
"Bye Ice," he called, blowing her a kiss.
"Um, I think I need to get back to the hospital," Ami mumbled, trying to edge out the door, "there's a new technician coming in at the end of the month and -"
"It's alright, Ami, go on, I can deal with this by myself."
"You sure about that?" Nephrite asked with a grin. He had put his hands behind his head as he looked up at Mako standing irately above him, hand on her hips.
"Uh, will you -" Ami called.
"Don't worry, sweetie," Nephrite called, "we'll be fine. Scurry on."
Ami fled out the door.
"Now, will you help me or not?" Nephrite asked, "I've only got a week before my time limit is up."
"What's the bet?" Mina asked excitedly.
Nephrite smiled and sat up.
"I knew there was a reason I like blonds." he crooned.
"Don't get jealous, Kino," he added as he saw her darkening face, "I love brunettes even more."
"Lucky me." Mako snarled.
"Yes, you are lucky," he countered, folding his arms across his chest.
"You are going to have the one and only opportunity of pretending to be my girlfriend for three amazing days...and nights, if you want. That's the bonus."
"Fabulous." Mako exclaimed, sarcastically, "And yet, somehow I'm able to resist the temptation."
"I'll pay you."
"Come here," he beckoned, standing.
Mako approached him warily, but he leaned over to whisper a few words in her ear.
"What!?" she screeched.
"There's no way!"
"I'm not bluffing," he grinned, "I'm a man of my word."
"Is that what all you girlfriends call you?" she retorted.
"Hey," he put up a hand, "I've never lied to a girl in my life – they all know about each other, everything is above board and fair."
"You're disgusting," she exclaimed.
"Well that is fair," Mina pointed out.
"Thanks, Goldie," Neph smiled. Mina giggled.
"You'll really pay me that much money, and all I have to do is pretend to be your girlfriend for three days?"
"And nights," he added, soberly, "yes. That's all. It's a great deal."
"And this is a bet you made with..." Mako eyed him suspiciously.
"With...some family members," he answered.
"I'll do it!" Mina exclaimed.
Nephrite laughed while Mako and Usagi looked appalled.
"Sorry, Blondie," he chuckled, "I wish you could but you're too flashy for this job. Besides, I already asked Kino-san."
"When would I get this money?" she querried.
"Must you be so vulgarly practical, Kino-san?"
"Yeah, I must." Mako answered, "When would I get it?"
"As soon as the third day is up, I will write you the check, or cash, or bags of gold, whatever you prefer."
"Alright, I'll do it."
"You will?" Mina and Usagi gasped.
"Yeah," Mako snapped, taking a fighter's stance, "I will. But we do things my way – and you don't touch me unless I tell you to."
"Whatever you want, darling," Nephrite grinned, "your body is sacred to me."
"Well, twins, it's been fun," Nephrite sighed, putting an arm around Usagi and Mina, "I'll miss you girls."
They giggled again as he kissed them on their cheeks.
"See you tomorrow, darling!" he called.
"See you tomorrow, idiot." she retorted.
"I don't know, Mako," Mina remarked, "he's pretty cute."