Uhh… I guess it's been a little while. Opps. But I had some of my own issues I had to sort out. I'm a lot less stressed now and hopefully feeling more creative than I have been. But still not up to full par.
Oh and, I don't know; I feel like explaining this a tab bit better. This is a timeline as if the Senshi had never met Usagi, never became Sailor Senshi. How their lives would have turned out. Well, in my perspective… plus a little dose of romance. I always thought that their lives were so tragic without Usagi and wondered why they'd been given such crappy existences without her. So I elaborated? Sort of.
Cha. Don't own squat.
"Yes?" A rough voice splintered through the unsought stillness. A minute passed before the low cracking of shifting joints and stiff bones signified the displeasure of being awoken at 2:30 in the morning.
Sheets slid and resettled against his hips, bathing the contours of his muscular chest in the cold moonlight. His vacant, monochrome stare traced the curvature of the billowing curtains, lips pursing into an unforgiving line. He held the phone to an ear, not moving.
When had dates become just a vague impression?
A gentle inquiry broke Kenneth's contemplation.
"Yes, I'm still here," his voice was clipped, his teeth clenched. Regret coiled and squeezed at his gut as a pregnant pause set in, but his expression remained set.
A sigh came from the other line.
"I'm fully aware of what you're going to ask. Unfortunately, I have prior engagements to attend to all throughout the week," Kenneth cut in swiftly, leaving no opportunity for the guilt to bleed out through the unevenly knit exaggeration. "I'm sorry."
"… I'm not afraid of him anymore, mother."
Hiding his face within the solitary obscurity of his palms, Kenneth let his mother's words soften and finally dissipate into the folds of darkness.
He dared not move until he could not recall the sound of her voice.
"Thank you, Miss Hino. Your services were greatly appreciated," the hostess, whose dimples molded kindheartedly into her drooping cheeks, handed her a check. "I'm sorry the party ran a little over expected time."
Rei accepted the payment with a bow of gratitude before letting her raw feet carry her unwilling weight through the dense oak doors into the livening chill.
Time had barely surrendered her release; from a moment more of her own heartbeat pulsing through the tips of her fingers. All she could do now was limp to the bus stop and hope that they ran this early in the morning.
It must had been close to three in the morning before the crowed melted through the doors, exhales of curling white cigarette smoke lurking in their settling wake like insipid shadows. She could nearly caress the mountain of warm lavender bubbles that would spill over the edge of her tub as she maneuvered her way down the few simple steps of the porch, avoiding a sleeping drunk and his stomach's contents.
However, her foreseen future became as vapid as the steam that would cloud her bathroom mirror.
He must have heard the cry of her four inch heels as they skinned against the pavement when her ankle nearly rolled after missing the last step.
She hadn't seen him then, but she saw him now.
She never looked directly at him, but he was openly staring.
He looked like he should be pressed in between magazine pages. His suit coat slung over a shoulder, back melding into the contours of a sleek car. His blond locks mused into a devastating mess that curled at the ends and hung just above his eyes.
Rei wondered where his glasses were.
Or if he ever needed them.
The way they glowed desperately sapphire in the predatory reflection of the full moon… she didn't think so.
Sneering at the ground she pitied the disease that clutched her heart to near stillness and painted her cheeks. It would die a tender death again and again. Until it would fight no longer.
Her stride picked up as she neared him.
How adrenaline could mask the twinge of her ankle and cramped toes so effortlessly. She'd feel the backlash within minutes.
Rei didn't slow.
She'd be damned if she'd catch a glimpse of his wedding band in a place like this. There had been too much sullen defiance. Too much plaint disrespect she'd strained upon herself. Pain.
The longing that rippled throughout her body protested against her disgust.
She felt her knees tremble, hostile response turning to ash that congealed on the tip of her tongue.
His voice… his voice… somber, yet warm and loose… was not Kaidou's.
She'd been wrong. Wrong.
It had never felt so good to be so mistaken.
Elated, Rei spared a glance over her shoulder; her good mood could not be ruined by her sour abhorrence towards the male species, no matter how indistinguishable the two men were. Clearing her throat she addressed him, "Yes?"
He didn't seem perturbed by her moody transition.
"This may seem a little straight forward, but is there anyway I could perhaps share a cab with you?" Unabashed, Jayden continued, "My ride left without me and I have absolutely no money on me whatsoever."
Curling her fingers tighter into the tough leather of her accompanying clutch, Rei eyed him critically.
Pushing off the car side Jayden rustled a hand through his locks irritably, "Even a few bucks? Look, I swear I'll pay you back. I just need to get home. I have no phone, no money…"
He emptied his pockets to exemplify his dire need.
Rei was never too inclined to hand out charity, especially when one wears such an expensively threaded suit, but she already knew she only had enough cash to pay her own way home.
"I'm sorry, I can't help you." And with no further explanation Rei slunk down the driveway, around the corner hedges, kicked her shoes off, and padded to her bus stop on angry feet.
Out of the corner of his eye Jayden spotted the man who had promptly made exceedingly fine friends with the porch and his own puke.
Leaning over the balcony of his back porch Nethan watched as the sun rose. His warm breath mingled in the dewy air, bare skin prickling from the sudden change in atmosphere. Half lidded eyes indolently traced the stretching silhouettes the rising sun sent running.
The stars faded swiftly from the brightening sky.
Today was going to be a long day…
Urg. It's too early for this.
With a long sigh Makoto ran a brush through her wavy locks before pulling them back into her trademark ponytail. She never enjoyed leaving the claustrophobic security of her bed; the world was not as merciful as her dreams. Even as cruel as they were.
Makoto had never really been one to sleep in exceptionally late, but getting up at 6AM brought back horrendous recollections of her high school career. At least if she was a few minutes belated she wouldn't be heckled. Only make a dreadful impression on her first day of "work". And piss off her probation officer.
"Ef et macks 'er sqarm…" She chuckled lightheartedly as she finished brushing her teeth.
Something about last night had uplifted her spirits unexpectedly. She felt like she had fairly repaid Tall-Dark-and-Handsome for her outlandish antics without having to worry about any further discrepancies. Even though her bento box had been something she had held dear it wasn't irreplaceable. Besides, it wasn't like she could have returned the flowers after she'd accidently destroyed a few when she tore her way back home.
Maybe she'd stop by…
"Get your head out of the clouds! We're kicking some habits and first thing's first… no more bad boys!" She barked, pumping a fist determinately. "No matter how tall, built, chiseled, and mysterious!"
Gradually her hand fell limp at her side, gazing at herself for a long minute.
"We're going to have to work on that."
With her legs tucked neatly under herself Ami leaned comfortably against a shelf, a book with a tattered spine burrowed into her lap. A sturdy mass of thick medical volumes stood guard; waiting.
It was early, only about an hour since the library had opened, but she was well into her extensive studying.
Reading, post-it noting pages, re-reading.
The corner of her lips twitched.
Her concentration was shallow and her brain was having trouble encoding the information from her text. Or perhaps it was retrieval failure?
A lack of retrieval cues? Proactive or retroactive interference?
Pulling her glasses off, she rubbed a weary eye.
Probably just a lack of adequate sleep…
Palming a small yawn she rested her head against the bent and bending spines of timeless novels and tales that she'd never read no matter how many times she'd tell herself too.
The wistful insight was pointless, the vivid taste of another's imagination temporary.
Still, she always found herself seeking comfort in the undying aisles of fiction.
Letting her lids slide shut Ami listened to the hushed whispers that filled the halls, greedily swallowed the musty sent of cracked and yellowed pages, and basked in the inquisitive mood of her strange refuge.
"Mommy! Mommy! This one! This one!" The hushed excitement of a young girl bouncing around in the next aisle made Ami smile. "Read this one to me Mommy!"
Children eager to learn always left a weak spot in her heart.
"Honey, are you sure you want this one?" With a brief pause she laughed. "Alice's Adventures in Wonderlandit is."
"It even has pictures in it!"
"Well look at that. Lucky girl. Alright, come here and we'll get as far as we can before we have to meet Daddy for lunch."
And so Ami sat listening to the woman spin the nonsensical adventures of Alice's time in Wonderland. It incited the memories of when she'd be tucked carefully into the crooks of her mother's arm, listening to the charismatic portrayal of Atrial Fibrillation or Myocardial Rupture.
Her head began tilting unknowingly to the side, muscles relaxing as the rapid patterns of her drowsy brain's Alpha waves lulled to the gentler rolling waves of Theta.
She had nearly drifted off into her own Wonderland when the shrill chime of her cell phone jolted her back into the cognizant world.
Fumbling to flip the phone open she mumbled a halfhearted greeting hoping not to cause a greater scene nor be on the receiving side of aggravated partisans' glares.
Or worse… get kicked out…
"Is this Ms. Mizuno speaking?"
She blinked at the stiff male voice, "Umm, yes? Who is this?"
"My name is Hayate Nakamura, I'm an associate and close friend of your father's. I'm calling to inform you that some of his work is on sale at a local exhibition," he sniffed. "I'd like to invite you to visit the gallery if you find yourself interested."
Her father's work? In Tokyo?
"I'm going to have to think about it…" She hesitated, but her curiosity peaked. "When is it?"
"It's all today. It's a private gallery so there is a semi-formal dress code. I've already taken the liberty to put your name on the list." The sound of rustling papers and the scraping of a chair interrupted him. "However, Ms. Mizuno, it is only for a day. The exhibit will be in China by tomorrow."
"Will my father be there?" Her heart fluttered for a moment, the question that had been hanging over her head from the first reference of him spilling out tactlessly.
"I'm afraid not. Only his art."
" I see… Thank you, Mr. Nakamura."
The call ended.
Kenneth brushed through the minimal crowd with ease. He kept his eyes on the ground, mind thick with lassitude that reached far beyond the hollow reflection of his Italian loafers. His silver tresses mirrored anyone's sympathetic sideways glances.
He must have wasted an hour turning corners, crossing streets, back tracking through narrow, hidden roads.
It was pointless. Unproductive.
But his epitomized struggle left him in a paralysis where only reflection and logic could blanket the underline problems.
He was never sure where he'd take himself or how far he'd get. At least it was a hint of adventure; of not knowing who you'll run into or where exactly you'll end up. If you can remember through your brooding, if you can get home.
He already knew where he was going. At seven in the morning there weren't many places to go.
Coffee would at least perk him up.
So he was not at all surprised when he found himself loitering underneath the awning of the dingy little café from a couple nights before. Not that he had thought about coming back, either. Just a simple convenience that he happened about.
Tugging at the door, however, proved to be of no convenience. It was locked.
Glancing at the times that were crudely written on the back of a pink sticky note stuck to the inside glass, he duly noted that the shop should have been opened nearly an hour ago. However, as focal point of his vision quickly shifted, he focused on the sight beyond his own fractured image.
The waitress from the other night was asleep with her head masked within her folded arms, golden mane spilling over the opposing side of the table while the rest tumbled around her shoulders.
Politely, he knocked on the window.
She stirred before sitting up. Not seeming to notice him she yawned unattractively wide.
She must have then noticed his looming shadow cast across the table because she turned towards him… and yawned again. Drowsily blinking at him she seemed to finally comprehend what was going on.
Bounding up she rushed to the door only to stand in front of it. She didn't move to unlock the door. She didn't even raise a finger.
Frowning in annoyance Kenneth raised a brow.
Sheepishly the waitress mouthed, "Arms. Are. Asleep."
"No, no…You don't understand. Yes, no—I mean… but I paid my bills! Everything was taken care of weeks ago," scoffed Rei as she rolled her eyes at the incompetence of the TECP employee. "Alright. Goodbye."
Leaning against a column out of exasperation, Rei cursed modern technology and the inflation of their prices.
She glanced down at the cordless phone with weary an unguarded eyes, before leveling back out to take in the shrine's courtyard. It all could only be maintained through such transactions as paying for gas, electricity, water, insurance, mortgage, etc.
With no real steady income it was hard to preserve the novel, majestic beauty of such a place.
Plants were simply evaporating and barren patches were beginning to grow in volume.
She knew her grandfather struggled, but she didn't realize it was this tough. Then again, she did break all ties towards her father's monthly "charity" and refused to believe it was a miscalculation on her part.
Saying no to her father was never a mistake.
But as the shrine withered away the voice of reason within her head, the one that mirrored her grandfather's kindly voice, was fading. Her will was bending if only to preserve the essence of the few things she loved.
Stepping through the shrine's shoji screen doors, into the more modern interior, Rei maneuvered over to the coffee table to flutter through snippets of papers until she found a messily scrawled number on the back of a recite.
A client had given it to her. They had owned a high end restaurant downtown and were looking for a piano player who was refined enough for their business and had urged her to take the job. It was an everyday job, but the pay would be a steady increase from her sporadic employment and the hours weren't too extensive as she'd only have to play around dinner hours.
She dialed the number.
Makoto huddled further into her chair, sinking away from the chilly draft wafting in when the door swung open. The lady at the desk threw her a sympathetic glance from behind her thick framed glasses as she shuffled and stacked papers. She must have been sitting in that same exact position for the last… three hours?
Apparently, the volunteer whom was in charge of showing Makoto around an informing her of protocol was no where to be found. Speculation was that she was taking care of business with some of the contractors to discuss the shelter's remodeling. A few others muttered something about "taking care of business alright" under their breaths.
Makoto took that as a promiscuous statement. At least the humor loosened her shoulders and made the waiting a bit more endurable. Well, that and her newly released romance novel. It had been forever since she last had enough time to curl up and get lost within the pages of some paperback book riddled with men's bare chests and gleaming smirks.
Directly in the middle of a relishing pinnacle where the main love interests were about to kiss and confess their true love for one another the door squeaked open. Pressing her face further into her book Makoto scanned the page, desperate to find out what was going to become of her star-crossed lovers.
Before she could however a flustered round, middle aged woman stepped into the room, fanning herself with a packet of paper rolled up just for that purpose. She wore a t-shirt with the shelter's name plastered all over it and an even more prominent giddy smile.
She ushered in whoever had been standing behind the cracked door and Makoto nearly feel out of her chair.
This had to be the most cliché of events that had ever ensued throughout Makoto's life, boy had there been quite a few, but this…
Squeezing through the cracked door, avoiding the panting woman's meaty hands as she virtually pulled him into the reception area, was…
Ami rummaged through her closet. There wasn't much: a few baggy sweatshirts, a couple silk shirts her mother had bought her, her worn out robe, and a few dresses. But there wasn't much space to begin with, so.
It was no use digging through her dressers. Nothing but t-shirts and jeans.
So a dress it was.
She'd never been particularly fond of any of her dresses, but if she was to seriously consider attending… a dress would have to do.
Which meant that she'd have to pull out the black dress she'd bought on impulse a year ago; something not like her, one does crazy things when they find out that they were accepted into the school of their dreams.
Crazy, crazy things…
Of course once her mother saw the dress she insisted that Ami buy matching heels—Ami gasped. Heels.
She dug through the orderly, alphabetized stack of books in order to reach the shoe box veiled within the cornered shadows of her closet. Pulling it out she shut her eyes tightly wishing, hoping that she had left them in their place when she'd been spring cleaning.
And they were.
Charming silver strapped stiletto heels that hadn't even been worn around the house, but could not be returned less she hear her mother plague her about not owning anything 'nice'.
Ami really didn't care to own any finicky clothing. Now papers, journals, books, her laptop… a different subject, but never clothing.
She practically had an hour to modify her look accordingly and carry out walking in her new attire.
An hour she could expend to studying…
Sighing dramatically Zacharie pulled the toothpick from his mouth, not caring to enjoy the appetizer he chewed on. Arranging it in the napkin he held he glanced around the room nonchalantly. Men in suits talked in hushed voices among themselves in countless diverse dialects. Stylish women ogled him from the corner of their eyes; older ladies waggled their fingers flirtatiously at him.
The crowd was beginning to slim and people were no longer clotted so fiercely around the bases of the artworks as there had been when the gallery first opened. He'd be free to stroll at his own pace, admire at will without worry of being shoved out of the way by some tycoon collector looking to toss the work in one of his confidential albums.
It had taken long enough.
He wasn't sure how long he'd been standing around enjoying the works from a far, but it was long enough to gather quite the pile of toothpicks and for the caterers to learn his name.
Tossing his own assortment of bits of food and napkins he shoved his hands into his pockets and picked a starting point in which to travel back to. It wouldn't be long. The gallery was on the smaller side, fortunately enough. Not undersized enough for the artworks to feel overcrowded, but not vast enough to display any traveling sculptures either.
Except for one.
A petite, ashen girl with fragile eyes. She had murky hair that shined with a trace of brilliant navy when she shifted her weight uncomfortably, brows creasing in contemplation. Clad in a black dress, whose hem she kept jerking down, that contrasted against her sugar spun skin splendidly. She anxiously beat her fingers against a bicep as she squinted her eyes despite the glasses perched on the bridge of her nose.
Then he recognized her.
The girl from the park.
Falling into place besides her he mocked interest in the oil painting as inclined his head towards her, asking, "Where you inspired?"
"Hmm?" When she glimpsed his way he noted that she looked even more riveting imprudent and doe eyed than she had formerly.
"By my work?" His smile was teasing, enchanting. He could see it in the evidence of her glasses and feel the pleasure in his cheeks. "Were you inspired enough to jump into the world of art?"
"Oh… Uhm… Not exactly," she confessed quietly, her library manors her only guidelines to follow while in this intangible world.
"You seemed to be concentrating quite intensely on this work of art," he chuckled, motioning a hand towards the piece, but never redirected his gaze from hers.
"Am I? I'm sorry. I'm trying to discern who exactly the artist of this work is." The hue of pink spread further across her cheeks in the lapse of her dithering lack of knowledge. She fidgeted, swiveled her gaze around for some sort of exit.
The full degree of her apprehension materialized.
Something swelled in Zacharie's gut.
He had been the one to so daringly loom with such minute reasons.
He could not touch upon it dare it devastate his ardent vigor.
"That would be David Shimizu," he said, voice smoothing into a calmer, reassuring tone.
She looked frayed at that second, and her flinch did not go undetected, but he assumed it was not his place to query.
She asked, "How can you tell?"
"His style. Unique in its own way." His replay was flippant; an inside joke of his resourceful brand, but his grin was simple and benign.
She just nodded with a lack of understanding.
"A fan?" Zacharie surmised.
"No." The girl smiled contemptuously, letting her gaze relax openly on the painting. Her eyes undulated bleakly, her stance fortified once more.
"No? He's a great influence on this era's modern artists!" He grasped both her slight shoulders, rattling her back into the feeble woman he'd ensnared before. Her frosty visage was not suiting.
"I see," she remarked breathlessly, inhaling only half the oxygen needed to fill her lungs. The blood in her cheeks seemed to drain, sinking back into her hollowed cavity.
She looked as if she'd freeze over if he pressed himself any nearer.
So innocent. So captivating.
Different from the flamboyant girls he'd known in France.
He took a hand of hers and escorted her off to introduce her to his humanity.
Woooow. That took forever. I mean, the fact that I hadn't written anything in the past few months didn't help my progress, but whatever. I've found myself more time to read and to write! I'm happy with it.
I tried to keep my style the same, but sometimes the lack of emotional discord can really impact it.
Though, I'm not too happy with how some of this turned out I feel like most of it was okay. I tried to keep the character's personalities all under check, but for some reason I kept writing Mako like Minako. I guess I just love both their fun sides. I did touch on Mako's rough side earlier and I don't want her to come off so, so callous. And I was really hesitant about bringing in another character (Motoki), but I guess it creates more space for me to write. Teehee.
My favorite today was Kunz/Mina. I really hate when that happens. lol.
Oh well! Thanks for reading. REVIEW. :D
P.S: Do people feel like this is moving too slow? ]: