Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or any Bleach affiliates.
Rukia Kuchiki glared hard at the tiny words on her computer screen. Her loathing for those little letters seemed insurmountable at this moment. Her fingers were tight on the edges of her seat and her mouth was set in a hard, imperceptible line. Her gaze was filled with steel and she could feel her teeth grinding lugubriously against each other.
She would not do this. She would call Momo and tell her that it was impossible, she did not want to do this and she most certainly did not need to do this—as Momo had previously stated. She was Rukia Kuchiki; her life did not require measures as desperate as these.
She honestly couldn't believe she had been roped into this. Throughout her entire life she had never let anyone tell her what to do. She was a lawyer for gods sake, she ordered people around for a living but she sure as hell didn't let them reciprocate the favor. Her teeth were grinding harder against each other and she grumpily looked to the side. She was trying so hard not to look at the illuminated screen.
It was humiliating.
Alright, she told herself angrily, I can start this out slowly, no need to rush. I've got all the time in the world. One at a time, that's the trick; I just have to go at this one at a fucking time.
She moved her large, violet, irises in the direction of the computer and read the first line.
What is your profession?
Okay, she thought bitterly, this is easy enough.
Her fingers moved swiftly over the keyboard and she tapped lightly. "Corporate lawyer." She said them aloud as the words appeared on the screen. She removed her wrists from the pads on her desk and commanded her mind to take a break.
She had decided… this was humiliating. She did not need to do this survey—if you could even call it a survey, more like a torturous mind game for single women. A trap, that's what this was, to make her—or any woman for that matter—feel like she was incomplete without a man in her life.
Rukia squared her shoulders and moved onto the next question.
What do you like to do when you're not working?
"Absolutely nothing." Rukia blurted out spitefully.
Alright, that was maybe half true. She didn't work all the time, just enough to make people think she did. She wasn't a complete workaholic. She always made sure never to work more than sixty five hours a week, Sundays were always her designated days off, and she did go to the movies on the occasional Friday night. There were always office parties and benefits and elegant balls where she would always find the time to schmooze the next poor bastard who would be conquered by her ever-expanding company. So yes, she did have something of a social life, not a very big one, granted, but it was still there.
How many friends do you have?
"One," Rukia snorted as she typed it out. She berated herself angrily for moving onto the next question with out a small break but she only grumbled and continued.
Yes, she did have a friend, Momo Hinamori, her pal since they graduated together from college and went to work for the same company. They went running together every Sunday morning at eight—granted, Rukia would have invited Momo to all of her morning runs but the woman flatly refused. Apparently, five in the morning was too early for Momo to even think of getting up.
So yes, she did have a friend, not to mention she also had several acquaintances, she knew many people from work and from around the city. The man who did her dry cleaning, for example, his name was Peter, and she saw him every week. He knew her name and her face and had never shrunken any of her suits.
But actual, honest-to-god friends… yes, only one of those.
Rukia reached to the side of her computer and grasped her glass of wine. The glass was at least three quarters full but she down the damned thing in three gulps. The next question made her scowl angrily.
On a scale of one to ten, how happy are you on a daily basis?
"At the moment," she responded nastily to the air around her. "Zero."
Rukia swirled the dregs of wine around in the glass and made an unhappy face. She growled and shoved her chair back as she stood. The sudden rush of blood to her head made her a bit woozy but she made her way to the kitchen anyway. She reached for the bottle of wine she had left out on her counter and poured herself another glass. A bit of wine tipped over the edge and she wiped away the drops immediately.
Honestly, filling this thing out was depressing her more than it should. It was just a stinking profile, it didn't have claws or fangs or any type of disease-causing microbe attached to it. It was just a simple questionnaire on a simple dating website.
She raised the glass to her lips and took a few sips, reminding herself that she needed to slow it down when it came to alcohol. She ran her tongue over her lips to gather any droplets left and smacked them playfully. Then she sent a sour glare to her computer and took the opportunity to slosh more wine into the crystal vessel.
She still couldn't believe that Momo had talked her into something like this. Of all the things she had gotten Rukia roped in with this was by far one of the worst.
Rukia snorted audibly and wrinkled her nose, "Come on Rukia," she mimicked in a high-pitched squeal. "It's just one little test. You don't even have to go out with any of them. Just try it. It won't kill you!"
Rukia huffed and brought her glass—bottle—of wine back to her computer. She really shouldn't be that mad at Momo; the woman was just trying to help, after all. But seriously, Rukia wasn't that much of a hopeless case. She had gotten dates in the past and she could still get them any time she wanted. She most certainly did not have to employ the services of an online dating website in order to get a date… or get laid.
She had told Momo this countless times over the past two weeks—which was when the infamous plan first popped into her head—but Momo had not believed a word Rukia had said. It wasn't as though Momo didn't have reason to worry though; if Momo's calendars were correct then Rukia hadn't gone on an actual date since she was about twenty four.
"It's only been two years." Rukia grumbled as she sat back down at her offending computer. "Only two years, I'm still young, I'm good looking."
It was then that Momo had given her the talk.
The talk was nothing sexual, Rukia was fairly well-versed in that area of study—even if it had been a while—so no… instead, this was the cat talk.
Rukia slowed down a bit so Momo could catch her breath. Her feet felt so nice in the squishy comfort of her sneakers. Sweat was running down her lower back and across her temples but she didn't wipe it away. Her hair was pulled up into a tight pony tail and her body was snugly fit into her tight running shorts and her billowing shirt. She reveled in the way her body felt after sprinting for a while. Her legs were tingling and her head was light with euphoria. Hell, running was one of the few things that made her feel completely happy, she knew it had to do with endorphins or something but she didn't pay much attention to that. She loved how light and fast she felt when she ran. She felt indomitable.
Momo, of course, was lagging behind a bit. She had been up late the previous night and wasn't moving as quickly as Rukia.
A jogging couple passed the two of them—Rukia was looking up at the clear blue sky and Momo was bent and wheezing softly beside her. The joggers were a man and a woman wearing matching attire. Blue shorts and black shirts—very chic considering it was only nine in the morning.
Momo must have looked up as they passed because not a moment later she grasped Rukia's wrist and tugged hard.
"He was totally checking you out." She giggled before going into a gasping fit.
Rukia sent Momo an irritated glance and shook her head. "I doubt it, wasn't he with that woman?" She looked over her shoulder at the pair and saw their matching behinds turning the corner.
Momo snorted and looked with Rukia. "Doesn't mean he can't look."
"Kind of does."
"What's that saying?" Momo mused, "Just because you've already ordered doesn't mean you can't look at the menu?"
Rukia poked Momo in the side, "I highly doubt that's an actual saying." She sighed and began to roll her shoulders. "Besides, isn't that what commitment is all about? Staying with one person and not looking at others? I mean, come on, they were wearing matching jogging suits, you don't get much more 'together' than that."
"Ah," Momo sighed, she pulled out three dollars from her back pocket and walked over to the snack vendor that normally sold them water. They ran in the park along a couple well-known trails so it was pretty common to have vendors, hustlers, dog-walkers, joggers, kids, and bikers crossing their paths. This vendor had been in the same spot for as long as they had been coming here. He knew them well enough to always have two bottles of icy cold water waiting in exchange for their three dollars.
The sun was beating down on their backs and Momo practically crooned when the man handed her the bottles. She first passed the cool plastic over her face and then over her neck while Rukia uncapped hers and took a drink. Another jogging pair passed by—this time it was two guys—and they both sent appreciative glances—and a few whistles—in their direction.
Momo turned, smiled, and gave the two a little wave. Rukia snorted and contemplated giving them the finger but only turned away.
When the jogging pair was far enough away an irritated Momo sent a punch into Rukia's arm and she yelped in pain. "What was that for?" She demanded hotly as her fingers rubbed the tender spot.
"Oh come on Rukia!" Momo frowned, "You could have at least said hi to them."
"Could have," Rukia snapped, "But didn't."
"Honestly," Momo grunted, "Sometimes I think you're just hopeless."
"I'm not hopeless," Rukia said as they resumed their leisurely cool-down walk along the trail. Rukia wanted to run again but she knew that Momo would pass out if she were made to move fast any time soon. "I just don't like being looked at, whistled at, or touched by random guys who think I'm just some brainless piece of meat."
Momo sighed and shook her head. "Rukia, hon, if you don't stop talking like that you're going to end up…" She broke off and shuddered theatrically.
Rukia shot her a swift glance, "A what? End up as a what?" Her tone was flat and dangerous, the same tone she used with obdurate clients.
Momo turned to Rukia and looked at her with horrified, expressive, eyes. She licked her lips and then painfully whispered, "A cat lady."
Rukia's face deadpanned. "A what?" She asked dryly.
Momo rolled her eyes histrionically, "Oh come off it Rukia, don't you watch movies?"
"A cat lady! A crazy cat lady!" She waved her hands in front of Rukia's face, as if trying to dig up some long forgotten memory. Rukia just stared at her blankly. "You know, the woman who could never find a man—or hold onto one—so instead, she buys tons and tons of cats just to compensate for the loneliness she feels. She always smells like cats and there's always cat hair on all of her clothing."
Momo leaped in front of her friend and turned so she was walking backwards. She pointed an accusing finger at Rukia's chest and glared. "You, young lady, are going to become a crazy cat lady if you don't start paying attention to members of the opposite sex." She shrugged her shoulders and sighed, "Or you can pay attention to members of the same sex and live happily ever after that way, but it's definitely got to be one or the other missy."
"Bite me." Rukia muttered bitterly as she downed the last of her water and tossed the bottle into a bin.
"Sorry," Momo shrugged but smiled and pointed over to some male runners approaching them, "But you can ask one of them. I'm sure they'd be happy to oblige."
Rukia grabbed Momo's water bottle and tossed the cold liquid onto her friend's face. Momo shrieked in horror but Rukia let out a laugh. She turned on her heel and ran away from her furious friend, knowing full well that Momo wouldn't be able to catch her.
Needless to say, Momo had resurrected the 'cat lady' lecture each time they had gotten together, spoke on the phone, or ate lunch together. She scolded Rukia for not being able to find the right guy and Rukia said she didn't want one. Momo laughed and asked her when she had last had sex, Rukia rolled her eyes and asked if a vibrator counted. Momo had tossed a piece of shrimp at her and shook her head no.
Momo had tried everything to get her on a date lately. She read Rukia's horoscope daily, she forwarded email addresses of suitable male friends to her, and she even set up "accidental" meetings with male acquaintances during their Sunday runs or weekday lunches. Rukia ignored and/or blew off every single attempt. To be quite honest she didn't know why Momo was trying so hard to find her a suitable date. Yet when the 'when was the last time you had sex' reason didn't work anymore, Rukia forced Momo to admit, 'I just want you to be happy.'
Incidentally, all of this had started only a couple weeks after Momo started to get happy with Toshiro Hitsugaya.
Two weeks after their discussion about cats Momo had informed Rukia that she was signing her up for a dating service. Apparently Rukia had three choices: speed dating, blind dating—the applicants themselves would be chosen by Rukia's dearest friend—or online dating.
After hours of trying to get Momo to change her mind she had finally agreed to online dating. Rukia had decided that it was at least it was safer and a bit less humiliating than the other two.
So now here she was, filling out a profile for an online dating service.
Rukia rubbed her finger along the edges of her wine glass and listened to the delicate ringing noise that it produced. She moved her mouse a bit and watched as her rabbit-themed screen saver disappeared. The questionnaire was back and she glared at the offending mess once again.
With which type of person do you think you're compatible?
Rukia felt a blood vessel in her forehead tick with annoyance. Her jaw was tight and her hand was clenched so hard she heard her mouse crack. She furiously stood from her chair and stomped towards her home phone. Her grip was firm as she dialed the numbers of her best friend's apartment and in her mind she was thinking of all the curse words she could jam into the first sentence of their conversation.
It took three rings for the phone to be answered and by that time Rukia had grown even more irritated—if that was even possible.
The person on the other line, however, was not her chipper and overly cheerful female friend, but Momo's boyfriend. He answered rudely in a cracked and gritty voice and Rukia snapped at him like a cat that was having its tail pulled.
Whoa, Rukia thought for a moment, cats, bad analogy.
"Toshiro," she snarled. She was far too used to having him answer the phone to be polite to him. "Phone. Momo. Now."
He didn't even say anything to her; Rukia simply heard the rustling of sheets and Toshiro grumble about his significant other's "psychotic friend." Rukia made a mental note to smack his head for that later but found that, oddly enough, at the moment the description fit perfectly.
There was a groan on the other side of the phone and a grumpy Momo answered, "Rukia? Do you know what time it is?"
Rukia glanced at hear clock and winced, "Two seventeen." She answered shortly then plopped down into her seat, her voice hardening. "But let me ask you a question Momo," she paused and leaned in so she could read the tiny words on the screen. "With which type of person do you think I'm compatible?"
There was a pause before a quiet voice beside Momo muttered, "Crazy people."
"Tell Toshiro I heard that," Rukia hissed. "Well? Do you know, Momo, do you? Because I sure as hell don't!"
"Wait," her friend grumbled, "Rukia… are you doing that profile… now?"
"Yes," she shot back. "When else was I going to do it? I'm too busy during the day."
"Rukia," she heard Momo sit up, "Why can't you answer these questions? I mean, it is supposed to match you with someone else, isn't it?"
"You're the one who's forcing me to do this." Rukia accused, pointing her finger into the air for emphasis. "Why don't you answer these questions?"
"Gee, I don't know, maybe because I might purposefully mess up and hook you up with a forty year old slob who lives in his mother's basement." Momo ground out as she yawned again. "Rukia, come on, I'm tired, I need sleep, I know you do too, you get up too early."
"I'll have an extra espresso." She declared shortly and gritted her teeth together. "But honestly, these questions are ridiculous!" She positioned the phone between her shoulder and ear and scrolled on her computer. "How am I supposed to know who I'm compatible with? Isn't this test supposed to tell me?"
"It n-needs you to answer th-those things so t-they can match you with s-someone else." She answered dully, yawns punctuating her sentence every so often. "Alright, you, go to bed. I'll help you with it later."
"Oh fine, that's just fine," Rukia spat, "Leave me here to suffer."
"Then go to bed," Momo chastised, "Let the suffering end with sleep. Come on Rukia, just… get some sleep and yell at me tomorrow."
"You had better count on that." Rukia seethed as she shut off the phone and slammed it down onto her table.
The computer was mocking her. Rukia all but bared her teeth at the damn thing before smacking it shut and downing the last of her wine. She'd wake up with a killer headache tomorrow but it didn't matter. Maybe if she drank enough tonight she would forget about that stupid questionnaire.
Rukia pushed her bottle, glass, and computer away and clumsily stood from her chair. She stumbled into her room and collapsed onto her overly fluffy bed.
She snorted once and wiggled closer to the pillows. Who was Momo to tell her that she needed a man in her life? She had only snagged Toshiro recently—even though it seemed like an eternity—and she was even older than Rukia! Twenty six was not desperate, and just because she hadn't had a date in a while—two years—didn't mean she was hopeless, far from it… life just needed to provide her with the appropriate opportunity. She didn't need to change for anything… life needed to change for her.
With that thought in mind Rukia Kuchiki fell into a fitful sleep.
(A/N: Here's a new story. I posted it first on but I decided to post it here too since I had a very positive response to Murder My Heart. I hope everyone likes it.
Remember, if you don't like my story then it wasn't written for you.
I'll update this site and the other at the same time. :)
Anyway, review, review, and review! Tell me what you think about this!)