Hey guys….I'm back from the dead. A few days ago one of my reviewers An Instant King sent me a really nice email saying that they were so disappointed that I had not updated in an entire year and even I'm shocked at myself. To be honest I tried really hard to update but school this year was brutal Grade 12 is not a fun experience when there's a test and project every week…so my fanfiction got prolonged. In all honesty I'm going to try to be better this year but… I will be beginning university in the Fall and that might mess with my schedule a bit. So cross your fingers. But fret not since it's summer and I feel really, really guilty I've gone into overdrive to try and write as many chapters as I can before the new school term begins in the Fall and I fall off the radar again.
But enough about me and my woes. I have to thank my dedicated reviewers who hopefully don't hate me for my inactivity. Today I give a big loud shout out to…. Devil's Anarchist, ASUKA-CHANNIES, An Instant King, Aki Kaede, i love hershey, sushi, xXVampyMethXx, fanficgirl28, shiloah18, daisukiasu'n'caga, CagalliYulaAtthaZala, AsuCaga01, Alessandrina, excelentofe, SacredBlade, Star-Moon-Angel, Milisante, Genny-chan, Tsukiko Hitsugaya, Minatsuki, -deviLish-baBy-, katkat, Dark Butterflies, sakurahana88, cagallirockz, Milleniumgirlie, Summer, AND Stickstrike. I have so many supporters you all totally rock my socks with your words of encouragement and advice.
Now for another overprotective brother filled chapter in Heart: Liability or Asset?…
Chapter 3: Of Brothers and Fake Lovers
Cagalli ran down the stairs and banged on her landlady's door. After about ten minutes the door was opened by a very tried looking Murrue Ramius.
"Yes Cagalli…" she sighed expecting something to be broken…again, "You do know it's two in the morning."
"I'm going on vacation," stated Cagalli smiling then turning around she headed back up the stairs to her apartment. Murrue stood shocked for a good five minutes than finally said,
"That smile….OH GOD! There's going to some sort of natural disaster tomorrow!"
Returning to her apartment Cagalli proceeded to turn off the power, grab her suitcases from the closet, plus smile like an idiot at her luck. After agreeing to this crazy scheme a few minutes prior Athrun and his party had left instructing her to be at his house tomorrow at nine.
There were three things that Cagalli wanted in life. One, to leave Zala Corp., two, open her own accounting firm, and three any form of public embarrassment for that prick Zala. Throwing random articles into her suitcase Cagalli could hear Athrun's words echoing in her head,
"Unlimited funds for your own company." It was a dream come true! No more working for Zala! And to put the icing on the cake, he would pay for HER own firm! With a client like him her business would surely flourish not to mention she could have the works! Marble floors, gold name plaques, and all she had to do was pretend to be his lover! If she had been thinking logically she probably would have realized that she had too short a temper to even attempt such a feat but hey, what could go wrong!
Entering the Zala mansion was like entering a whole other universe, at least to the "relatively" poor Cagalli. The lavish home was decorated exquisitely and gave off a suffocating feeling of comfort despite its huge size. Throwing her luggage on the ground she glared at Athrun's retreating frame,
"Thanks again Zala for helping me with my luggage!" She yelled sarcastically at the lazy ass who had watched her haul it inside while sipping his morning coffee.
"You're very welcome," he joked already enjoying his newfound pet. Growling Cagalli stood staring at him,
"So Mr. Genius are you going to show me to my room," asked Cagalli. Athrun almost dropped his cup at her bluntness. He had actually forgotten that Cagalli didn't live here.
"Uhhh yes.. right this way." Leading her up the stairs and down a hallway he wasn't surprised that when he looked behind him Cagalli had a dizzy expression.
"I'll get you a map," he sighed, "My room is the one right at the top of the stairs across from my office so it should be easy to find." Cagalli nodded. Dragging her luggage into the room he indicated,
"WOW!" she stammered looking at the grander, "You've got everything all prepared."
"Of course it would be rude to not treat a guest without care," responded Athrun he had actually gone and talked to her secretary Mir again to find out what kind of styles Cagalli liked, it was, after all, only proper.
"Uhh but "honey"," she said sweetly letting the word hang between them, "I thought I meant more to you than that! I bet that old man Attha's room looks exactly like this one." Athrun rolled his eyes at her melodrama, but smiled nevertheless. Sitting in one of the chairs he watched her unpack her luggage.
"What exactly are you doing?" she asked as he seemed to be examining each piece of clothing she extracted.
"Just coming up with compliments for each piece of clothing," stated Athrun, "Can't not know my woman's wardrobe. By the way why is there not a single skirt or dress in that mess of clothing?"
"Because I don't like them."
"I see…I'll call Dearka and get him to purchase some. What are your sizes?"
"WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT PERVERT!" yelled Cagalli grabbing Athrun and throwing him out of her room.
"Wait," shouted Athrun, "I have to see that your lingerie is up to par with my standards." The slamming door meet his face as well as Cagalli's stinging response,
"What's under my pants is not your concern Zala!" Athrun rolled his eyes and moved away from her door towards the main foyer and his office. Dialing Dearka's number he tried to judge if this was the best course of action, ordering clothes in for the obstinate woman, but he didn't have a choice he had to at least look a little like the guy in this relationship.
"Yo, this is the funk man how may I direct you to a date."
"I'm flattered but you are so not my type, I like men with brains not men with stupid pick up lines," laughed Athrun into the receiver.
"Oh boss it's you."
"Can the funk man take time from his busy schedule and go out and buy some clothes?" Hearing a commotion from the other end Athrun could only guess that Yzak had taken the phone from Dearka….forcefully.
"What do you want?" he heard Yzak bark.
"I need some more…" how could he put this, "Girly clothes for the little woman."
"Oh finding flaws already in your flawless plan."
"Yzak can you just find a stylist or something to come in and fix her up?" sighing Athrun pondered something for a moment, "We need to make her look less like a guy and more like a girl… and oh yeah I need you and Dearka to pick something up for me at the jewelers." He could almost hear Yzak rolling his eyes.
"We're getting paid for overtime." Then the line went dead.
"I am absolutely, positively not wearing that…or that, or that! OR THAT!" shouted Cagalli at the poor stylist who Dearka had brought to try and reform the feisty blonde into a sophisticated woman.
However at this point the three men stared in awe as the blonde refused the hundredth dress. They thought by this time she would just give up, and give in. Apparently they were wrong; her will power far exceeded any of their expectations. The three were now sharing a bowl of popcorn and making imaginary bets on how long it would take for the stylist to lose her mind and get sent to a psycho ward.
"Maybe," hissed Cagalli swiveling around to look at the guys, "This would go faster if I wasn't being scrutinized by these imbeciles!"
"Cagalli-" began Athrun,
"That's Ms. Hibiki to you!"
"Right…Ms. Hibiki," for some reason Athrun wasn't as happy saying her surname, "We need you to make sure you choose clothes and styles appropriate for your gender and the look we are trying to portray."
"What he's trying to say," said Yzak, "Is we want you to act like yourself and when we say yourself we mean someone entirely different." Cagalli just glared venomously at the three.
"You expect clothes to change me?"
"Nope we expect you to hide that rude attitude of yours and wear the clothes." Cagalli just rolled her eyes. She was never one to do what anyone told. Her brother knew first hand what it was like, wait a minute…HER BROTHER!!
"Uhhh we might have a small problem…" began Cagalli.
"And flaw number two reveals itself," proclaimed Yzak.
"That flaw being?" asked Athrun directing the question at Cagalli.
"My brother has no idea what I'm doing and," looking at her watch, "He's at my apartment right now to meet me for lunch." That was when her cell phone rang. Not a quiet symphonic chime, but the loud clanging of some rock band. "I'll get that shall I?" she suggested grabbing the small silver device,
"Hello?" Moving the phone away from her ear as the voice of her brother drifted into the room,
"WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU!!!"
"YOU CAN'T BE NO WHERE BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT HERE!" Gesturing to Cagalli, Athrun conveyed that he would like the phone. Deciding it would be better if the rich man explained things Cagalli handed over her cell phone to Athrun's outreached hand.
"Hello, you must be Ms. Hibiki's brother."
"WHO THE HECK ARE YOU!"
"Well if you come to 35 Archangel Avenue I'm sure I could shed some light on that comment." Cagalli could imagine her brother's face right now. He was probably wearing the look that meant he was going to kill the next fluffy animal he saw. Lacus was probably beside him trying to get him to calm down and think reasonably, probably before his death grip broke his fifth cell phone.
"FINE! BUT SHE HAD BETTER BE THERE!" The dial tone reverberated in Athrun's ears and he returned the phone to Cagalli.
"This is unforeseen," he said blandly, "We just have to convince him not to talk." Cagalli sighed this wasn't turning out as she had hoped. Sure she would get a ridiculously large sum of money at the end of this but…
Ding Dong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong! DingDong!
"You better get the door before he breaks it down," stated Cagalli watching as Athrun listened to the wail of the poor doorbell. As he, Dearka, and Yzak left Athrun noticed with a smile that Cagalli picked up a few of the dresses she had already refused.
Entering the foyer Athrun proceeded to open the door to an infuriated brunette man who barged past him into the house,
"CAGALLI!" Shaking his head Athrun turned to close the door when the pink haired woman from the elevator entered behind the infuriated man. She gave Athrun a look that said she was with the lunatic.
"Alright, alright I'm coming keep your pants on," Cagalli's voice wafted into the hall as she walked towards her brother, "I wish you'd listen to reason."
"REASON! YOU'RE IN SOME RANDOM GUYS HOUSE!"
"That's Athrun Zala's house," sighed the bluenette tiredly he now understood why Cagalli hadn't been too thrilled to involve her brother, "And I need Ms. Hibiki for a….project."
"The Athrun Zala," asked Kira calming down slightly, "What do you want with her?"
"You know I'm right here," sighed Cagalli tapping her foot on the floor in annoyance at her brother's unfavorable comment.
"Oh just to make sure then. Are you really ok with a girl like that for your project?" stated Kira pointing at his sister.
"If we had a choice we wouldn't have chosen her," said Dearka.
"HEY! HELLO! Person you're insulting right here." Kira felt relieved knowing it was just her boss not some random guy…but than again did huge corporate figures have morals…
"So Mr. Zala…"
"Please, just call me Athrun."
"What exactly is Cagalli's role in this project?" By now everyone had moved into the living room and were sipping beverages which Athrun's staff had brought.
"She's to play my wife." Spitting out his drink Kira looked at Athrun like he'd grown another head,
"Coughcough..cough," sputtered Kira as he choked on the tea, "Pardon."
"In this project she is going to play my significant other."
"You mean insignificant other," interjected Cagalli, not thrilled with the idea of being related to Athrun in any way, "Kira he needs a favor to get an account."
"An account," said Kira looking at Athrun, "But why her."
"And we're back to insults," sighed Cagalli slumping in her chair and pouting angrily.
"How can I put this," pondered Dearka glancing at Athrun, "Athrun here isn't so good at talking to girls."
"Surprising. I know," continued Yzak noting Kira's disbelieving expression. For the most elusive bachelor of PLANTS not to be good with women just didn't compute to most people, "But when we discovered he could talk to Cagalli, we realized she could help us get a major client." Kira by now was processing all the information; it was at this point that Lacus decided to interject,
"So you want Cagalli to play your wife to impress this client?"
"Fine by me. Come on Kira," the pink haired woman said grabbing her husband's arm, "Cagalli needs to get ready for her big reveal, and we're about to lose our reservation."
"I still think this isn't a good idea," muttered Kira.
"Kira, honey, think of the possibilities," said Lacus soothingly, "These people will force Cagalli to wear dresses, learn proper manners, and if we're lucky meet an eligible guy."
"Than I am absolutely against this!"
"Kira." The room chilled as Lacus gazed at him with a look of superiority, "She's your sister and if she wants to do this, you have no say in the matter." With that her smile returned as she dragged Kira from the room. Waving to the four remaining occupants she said, "Don't worry Cagalli we won't blow your cover, by the way red really brings out the color of your eyes." Cagalli blushed as Lacus pointed at one of the discarded dresses from her mini-fashion show.
"I get it! I get it!" Growled Cagalli as her face began to match the dress, "I'll walk you out." Once the three were gone Dearka turned to Athrun and Yzak,
"That could have gone wor-"
"Don't even say it!" both yelled in unison.
Cagalli closed the door to her room, and surveyed her living quarters for the next month. It wasn't like she disliked them…it was just all too much. Everything was so overdone; she wasn't even surprised when she saw the mint on the pillow. It was like this throughout the whole house, so "designer done." No original styles or concepts, heck half of the house look like it hadn't been touched in months. Thanks to her host forgetting to give Cagalli a map she'd wandered the halls for the last hour and noticed that most of the house was covered in dust. Why buy a house if you weren't going to live in it?
Looking at her bed she observed the collection of dresses and skirts she had now acquired. Touching the rich silks Cagalli couldn't believe she temporarily owned something so beautiful, unfortunately she just couldn't imagine herself in the dresses. Since a young age she'd never quite fit in. Her brother was always so handsome you could dress him in anything and he looked great but as for her, she was always the problem child. Always getting her clothes dirty or getting into fights. When they had entered school her flaws had only become more apparent placing people like Lacus next to her in class made her almost look like some sort of freak of nature.
She sighed heavily trying to bury the memories of her imperfections. Getting out her laptop she opened up EXCEL and began typing up the company's spread sheets, she might be on vacation but she still had work to do.
Hearing a bang on her door she called out,
"It's open." Instead of the person she expected (Athrun); a proud Yzak Joule sauntered in. She only knew him by name but she had a feeling that this man was one of the reasons that Zala Corp. even existed; she just couldn't imagine it being in any way related to Dearka's efforts.
"Yes?" she questioned not looking up from her work.
"You do realize this is a paid vacation, you don't have to work."
"And leave the company in your capable hands…as if!" Cagalli snorted as she typed faster in the hopes of encouraging Yzak to leave.
"You really have some attitude!"
"And Mr. Sunshine has a right to criticize?" Yzak was getting annoyed with this woman. Sure she seemed capable of handling the transaction smoothly but if she couldn't act like a girl what was the point?
"You are so not cute!"
"And your opinion ever mattered to me? Besides stating facts won't change anything." Yzak growled the only person who ever got him this frustrated was Zala but now he had another one…God must hate him.
"FINE!" Rolling her eyes Cagalli looked from her computer to the irritated man.
"You seem like an intelligent man so I'll tell you a secret." Yzak's ears perked up, "Women are expected not to snore, pass wind, or perspire, if we didn't bitch we'd explode. Hope that answers any of your further questions."
With that Cagalli returned to her computer completely immersing herself in the numbers. Yzak remained gaping at the blonde until he slowly regained his senses and backed out the door. A few moments later another knock greeted her ears.
"Yes?" she said more than a little agitated. This time the door was opened to reveal…Dearka.
"Just checking up to see how you are?"
"Is the third one out there I have stuff I want to do."
"Nope," laughed Dearka, "He's working. Bothering him now would not be a good idea."
"And you think messing with me is a better one?" questioned Cagalli trying harder to concentrate on her work. She could hear the rustle of Dearka's clothes as he shrugged,
"Don't you have a wife?" she asked trying harder to get rid of Dearka who was now making himself comfortable on her bed. Dearka shook his head.
"Another thing you could bother…a pet rock perhaps!"
"Don't remind me of Rocky," wailed Dearka faking tears, "He was too young to erode!" Cagalli rolled her eyes and stood up, stretching her cramped muscles she was about to kick Dearka out when she heard that telltale ding from her computer saying someone was trying to message her.
Looking over at Dearka she was disgusted to notice that he was crashed out on her bed and drooling on her sheets, swearing that she'd make him pay later she clicked the message at the bottom of the screen, expecting it to be Mir or Lacus instead she found an unknown person was trying to contact her.
Blonde_Girl: Ok weirdo I'm blocking you in 3…2…1…
Boss_Zala: Good Evening Ms. Hibiki.
Well there's another chapter I hope it was worth the year wait…it probably wasn't but hey a writer can hope. I might have portrayed Kira as a little too crazy but since I've left out characters such as Meer I think we need some added crazy in the mix. I have a feeling that the relationships aren't going to be as black and white as in my previous works but I think this grey will add a bit more depth to this story. Next chapter we prelude the arrival of Attha, trying to get Cagalli in a dress oh what fun.
So if you'd like to press the pretty purple button and give me your thoughts I'd love to hear from you.
Ciao from the zombie,