Friends

"Can someone please explain to me why do I have to attend this party again?" Makino Tsukushi growled, as she tried to balance (unsuccessfully) on her ridiculous high heels, while holding a glass of wine. "And wrapped up like a dumpling as well?"

"Wrapped up like a dumpling? Jeez, Makino, can't you think of something better to say? Or phrase it more elegantly?" Nishikado Sojiroh snorted, as he looked over at our heroine from the corner of his eye "That is not how a lady speaks! And there is nothing wrong with that dress that I have chosen for you. It's Dior, for goodness sake!"

"If Tsukasa wanted a lady, he won't have asked Makino-chan to be his girlfriend in the first place!" His buddy, Mimasaka Akira grinned, as he turned to look at Makino as well. "Makino will always be herself. That was the unique trait that sets her apart from the rest. But seriously, what's wrong?"

"Because I can't breathe, that's what! Though it's a beautiful dress, the wrapping design is a tad too tight! Plus, I can do with heels that are not so high!" Makino glared at Nishikado as she continued "Why did you choose such a ridiculous pair anyway?"

"Because your beloved virgin boyfriend, Domyoji Tsukasa, is the host for tonight and he requested for you to be here. If you don't wear those heels, you will look very short when standing next to him." Nishikado smirked, as he raised his wine glass in a toast to her. "Gambatte, our dear hardworking virgin! It's all for Tsukasa, you know!"

As Makino grumbled away under her breath, the final member of the famous F4, Hanazawa Rui, spoke up "Hang in there, Makino. Once Domyoji takes the stage with you at the side, you can change into something more comfortable afterwards. But you do look beautiful in that dress." He smiled, as he reached out for her, helping her find her balance as she fumbled once more.

"Arigato, Hanazawa Rui." Makino smiled as she took the offered hand, as she tried to regain her balance once more. As she slipped her hand into the outstretched palm of Hanazawa Rui, several female voices rose up in volume behind her.

"Oh my god, did you see that?" Asai Yuriko said, pitching her voice so that others around her can hear her clearly. "Even though she is supposed to be Domyoji sama's girlfriend, she still slips her hand into other people's offered fingers! She is so shameless! Who does she think she is? If I am Domyoji sama's chosen one, I would definitely conduct myself in a more appropriate behavior!"

"I agree, Yuriko-sama! Domyoji sama and you would make a beautiful couple! Unfortunately, your place is being taken by a commoner, a weed to boot!" A girl standing next to her said, as she looked over at the four people standing together, next to the buffet.



Upon hearing this, Tsukushi whirled around on her heel as she spun around to see her nemesis, the one who always makes her life difficult for her while in her high school. Though both women had graduated from high school already and Tsukushi herself is enrolled in a MBA business course at Eitoku University, Asai Yuriko never stopped to make life easy for her. At every turn, she would do things that would put Makino in a fix. By means of her quick wits and royal friends, including the rest of the F4, she would usually set the wrong to right with little effort. However, it does not mean that she is not frustrated at the spoilt girl's actions. Enough is enough and tonight, she will set Asai Yuriko to right!

Stomping over to Asai, Tsukushi glared at her as she snapped "Mind what you say, Asai. I don't care if you attack me, either in school though your actions or your words but I won't have you attacking my friends over there! It has been ages since we graduated from Eitoku High already, can't you give me a break? You ought to realize, that till now, you can never beat me! Give it up and grow up, you bratty princess!" With each word, her volume increased, till she ended the speech, yelling.

Asai looked at her in shock as Tsukushi yelled at her. Fumbling backwards, her heel caught upon a stone and she tripped backwards. However, as she fell, her wine glass that she was clenching flew into the air and dropped towards Earth with alarming speed as it obeys Gravity.

"Makino!!" All three guys yelled as they all ran towards the 2 girls who were now stupefied, as they look at the glass with red wine in it. Akira reached her first and yanked her backwards, into his arms, as the wine glass shattered into a million pieces, with the wine spilling everywhere. Most of them landed on Asai as she had fallen first. Her yellow gown was immediately stained with an ugly shade of red, and it was apparent that the gown is beyond repair already. Blotches of wine spread, and it looks as if someone painted red polka dots of different sizes on her. Asai looked on in shock, as her mouth sets in place to scream.

Although out of the range of impact of the breaking of the glass, Tsukushi suffered a little damage on her Dior white gown as well. Several drops of the red wine spilled on the waistline of the dress, blotching it. Though it is not very obvious, one can still see the stains if they look closely. Looking at it, Nishikado groaned as he slapped a hand over his eyes "Oh god, not now! You are due on stage a few minutes later, Makino! How are we going to repair this damage to your gown? People will be looking at you closely, you know!"

At his words, Asai stopped her screaming and threw a smirk over to Tsukushi, who is now nested in Akira's arms, who in turn, looked worriedly at her gown. "Hahahahahaha! My gown may be ruined, Makino Tsukushi but you will be ruined in front of our peers when you appear in that gown, standing next to Domyoji-sama! I will still have the last laugh!" She chortled, as she laughed evilly.

"No, you will not!" Akira declared, as he looked back at the girl lying on a heap on the stone clobbered floor. "As compared to you, you ugly woman, Makino will have the last laugh over 

you! Just you wait and see! If you have the guts to stay around till the presentation later, let's see if you can stand to see Makino in her moment of glory as Tsukasa announced their engagement! Makino, come with me!" Without giving Tsukushi a chance to speak, Akira swept her away and into the main house, into one of the rooms. Along the way, he gave some orders to a maid who nodded and hurried away.

"Akira, slow down!" Tsukushi cried, as she was tugged along by Akira. "Where are we going?" "To get your gown fixed?" Akira said, as he opened a door, pushing her into the room. Just then, the maid whom he barked some orders to appeared, with several other maids behind her, their hands overflowing with items. "Mimasaka-sama! Here is the stuff you need!"

"Good, there is no time to waste! Hand me the salt!" Akira ordered as he got out of his dinner jacket and rolled up his shirt sleeves. Taking the salt holder from the maid, he sprinkled some over the stains. Immediately, he plucked napkins out of another maid's hands and dabbed at the stain. As the salt came into contact with the stain, it was bleached pink. Akira then swept the salt away from the dress as he repeated the process as fast as he could. The stain on the dress was lightened considerably but there are still traces over there.

Turning around, he gestured for another two maids over. Grabbing the array of red and white roses from them, he frowned at them and said "Trim them for their thorns but leave the stems intact. You, bring me those honeysuckle and leaves! You, I want the soft transparent wire! Move it!" He snapped.

As the maids scurry away to follow his orders, Akira turned back to see how Tsukushi is holding up. What he saw surprised him – Tsukushi was smiling away as she looked at Akira. "Arigato, Akira. Seems like you are very well equipped to handle such emergencies at times huh? I am very thankful to you."

Akira was silent as he mused over her words, which prompted him to recall a certain incident in the past, with one of his dates. Finally, he spoke, though his voice was a tad huskier as compared to before. "No, there is no need to be thankful to me, Makino. We are friends, right? Friends should help out each other at times." Just as he was about to turn away to see how the maids are coming along, he felt her hand on his arm as Tsukushi asked "What's wrong, Akira?"

Tensing up, he kept silent as he reached over for the trimmed roses that the maids prepared. Dismissing them with a nod, he started weaving the roses, honeysuckle and leaves all together. As he worked, he shared his story with Tsukushi, as to what happened during a date in the past. How the woman in question called him an obasan, when all he did was to help her to fix a blouse whose thread had came loose. He also mentioned how he overheard the woman telling her friends all about him and so forth. As Akira worked, he kept his eyes diverted away from Makino, not wanting her to see his eyes. Throughout the whole conversation, Tsukushi was silent, letting him speak.



Once he finishing weaving everything together, he looped the whole thing over Tsukushi's waist and fastened everything together. As he expected, his masterpiece covered the wine stains perfectly and added an extra dash of class to the skirt. With a left over stalk of red rose, Akira placed it into Tsukushi's hair. Just as he was about to pull away from her, Tsukushi grabbed his hands and held them tightly with hers.

"The woman is an idiot, Akira. You are definitely no obasan, trust me, with all your playboy ways and all." Tsukushi grinned at him. Speaking softly this time round, she continued "Rather, what I feel is that you are very noble, to help out the woman in question earlier. Not many guys are able to do what you did the last time, you know? Imagine if Domoyoji was there, I bet he would have asked her to just buy a new blouse on the spot." Laughing, she finished off "Let the past go, Akira. Treasure the fact that you are equipped with skills that can help you out of sticky situations. In time, you will find yourself helping others with those skills of yours. See, didn't I just make you put your skills to good use?"

Akira smiled, as he looked at Tsukushi. "Arigato, Makino." "Don't thank me. Who was it that said that friends help out with each other earlier?" Tsukushi grinned. Throwing his head back, Akira laughed. "Yes, let's go, shall we? Else Tsukasa will be wondering where his fiancée-to- be is. I don't want to be the one whom he accuses to kidnap his darling!"

"That baka." Tsukushi grinned, as checked out her reflection one last time with the mirror. "You did a splendid job, Akira. Arigato." "Enough, let's go. I want to see Asai Yuriko's face later as she sees you in your new found glory. Though I bet she will cry and flee for life after Tsukasa heard of this little incident." Laughing, they depart from the room, hand in hand,

True to his words, Asai Yuriko did crumple and burst into tears upon seeing Tsukushi standing next to her beloved Domyoji sama as he announced their engagement to their peers. Looking lovelier than ever, Tsukushi blushed as the crowd cheered when Tsukasa leaned down to kiss her.

THE END.

AUTHOR'S NOTES:

A Hana Yori Dango fanfiction! I am so proud of myself. LOL. I hoped you all enjoyed reading this and comments and reviews are always welcomed.

As for the reason why I wanted to write this, I always feel that Akira is the least featured member of the F4. Yet, he is very kind hearted. In case anyone is wondering, Akira is NOT romantically attracted to our dear heroine. Rather, what I want to express here is their friendship.

It had been ages since I wrote anymore fanfiction. I will work hard! Till the next story! Ja ne.