Disclaimers apply. I do not own Macross Frontier or anything related to the Macross franchise. This piece of fiction was inspired by the awesome Jayne Ann Krentz and is dedicated to all my Skullfaerie comrades, old and new.
Sheryl had only intended for a quick little hug—but when she was about to pull away, Alto's arms suddenly wrapped around her frame, eliciting a surprised gasp from her. She placed her hands on his chest with the purpose of pushing him away when his mouth came down on hers.
Her eyes widened in disbelief. Saotome Alto was kissing her!
Moments ago, Sheryl had already come to the conclusion that Alto had felt nothing but distaste towards her. The feel of his lips on hers sure proved otherwise. Somewhere between Alto deepening the kiss and pushing her against the seat, it struck Sheryl that she should be getting him away from her and be pissed at him.
But the idea wasn't very appealing compared to this.
"Alto…" Sheryl whispered breathlessly, the effects of his kiss lingering on her lips with a tingling sensation that managed to go all the way down her toes.
He was looking down at her with an intense look. She could make out a flushed color on his complexion and the lust-filled expression in his eyes. He brought his fingertips to the base of her throat and drew feather-light circles; the ginger touch stirred the desire gathering inside Sheryl.
"You may be annoying…" he murmured as he replaced his fingers with his lips, "but you're attractive as hell."
Sheryl felt a smile on her lips as her hands rested on his shoulders, "…Really?"
Her eyes closed with a dreamy feeling.
"Yeah, as long as you keep your big mouth shut."
Her eyes flared open.
"As long as what?!"
"You heard me." Alto was too occupied nipping on her skin to even look at her. Sheryl wanted to complain some more but found Alto's touch too distracting on her part to concentrate. It was hard to think of good insults when his lips were working on her throat like that.
She let out a small whimper when his teeth scraped gently on her skin. Her head tipped back against the seat, letting the sensations take over. She kicked off her shoes, allowing her toes to curl from the pleasure without any restraint.
He took her mouth once more and this time the kiss was even better than the first. Sheryl felt herself melt as his lips glided intoxicatingly over hers. He started nibbling on her lower lip and she felt a jolt of excitement when his hand brushed aside the lacy strap of her dress from her shoulder.
She clung even more to him, her arms tightening around his neck as she arched her body closer. He extracted his mouth and returned to the base of her throat, his breath tickling her now-sensitive skin.
"Sheryl," he whispered in a ragged voice, as he kissed the side of her neck. Sheryl responded with a soft sigh of longing as she felt his palm pressing on her naked shoulder.
"Its okay, Sheryl," Alto whispered into her ear, his tone bitter. "You don't have to pretend."
Sheryl froze. An unimaginable feeling of cold took over the pleasant sensations she had been enjoying just moments ago.
"Pretend? What do you mean pretend?"
"I already agreed to help you look for the earrings. You don't have to pay me with your body."
His words pricked her heart like needles. She started to struggle away from his arms. When he wouldn't let her go immediately, Sheryl freed one arm and aimed for a slap. Unfortunately he caught her just before her offending hand could land one on his face, his hand coiled around her wrist tightly.
His eyes glittered with suppressed fury.
"You're way ahead of yourself if you think I'm going to let you hit me."
She felt anger and fright teeming inside of her, as well as a world of hurt. "Let me go!"
"You started this."
"Let go of me! I don't need you anymore! You can just go crawl back to where you came from, Saotome Alto! I don't need you! I'll be fine on my own!"
She wasn't going to let him see her cry. There was no way in hell, she'd let him.
There was a lengthy silence as Alto studied her face as she remained captive in his arms. Then slowly, he released her. Sheryl made no hesitation. She scooted away from him and picked up her shoes, her hand on the door handle. Alto snatched her wrist before she could open the door.
"Let go of me!"
"Calm down, will you? You're too temperamental. …Besides, what did you expect me to do when you just threw yourself onto me?"
"I wasn't trying to be some cheap floozy that's for sure!" She tried once more to free her hand from his grip but to no avail. "I was only trying to give you an innocent hug!"
He snorted. "There wasn't anything innocent about that hug we had going on."
"Only because you tried to make it out into something else! And then you…you had the nerve to say—damn you, you asshole!"
Alto shut his eyes as he cursed out loud. Opening them, he looked at Sheryl with his ever cryptic expression.
"Would it help if I said I was sorry?"
She stared at him stonily.
"I don't know. Are you?"
"For kissing me or for what you said after?"
He hesitated for a moment before truthfully answering, "Not for kissing you."
"Then how about calling me an opportunist and a slut?"
"I never called you any of that."
"You never had to! Are you sorry for that too?"
Sheryl felt an urge to scratch his eyes out. "I'm sorry. I guess. You say that but I'm sure it doesn't change your opinion about me. I'm sure you still think I'm some kind of cheap slutty bimbo trying to make some easy money. You disgust me, Alto."
Alto sighed wearily. "I can see that much. Look, do we still have a deal?"
Enraged at how he seemed to take her feelings so lightly, Sheryl used all her strength to snatch her hand from his hold. She succeeded and he didn't do anything to stop her from opening the door. She struggled with her shoes and fixed her dress before stepping out.
She glowered down at Alto who was still waiting for her reply.
"I'll think about it," she said, then slammed the door.
Michel and Luca didn't bother looking away from their game when Alto came into their quarters. Both of them knew it was Alto right away for they had internal hime radars.
"Hey Alto-sempai," Luca greeted without taking his eyes off from the game, there was no way in hell he'd let Michel beat his sorry ass for the twentieth time tonight.
"Yo hime. How'd your date go?" Michel asked, about to beat Luca's sorry ass for the twentieth time tonight. Before he could pull his signature finishing move to Luca's fighter on the screen, he was suddenly blinded by an unknown object.
"What the hell?!"
Luca took the advantage of Michel's inconvenient moment to blow up his sempai's fighter to smithereens.
"Yatta! I did it!" Luca cheered. Michel removed the cause of his loss from his handsome head. It was his tuxedo jacket. He turned his attention to Alto who was sitting on the edge of the bunk bed.
"What gives hime?! You just cost me my win streak!"
Alto grunted uncaringly as a response. He seemed grouchier than usual. Michel stood up from the floor that he and Luca had been sitting on in their video duels and approached closer to Alto as he effectively slipped into his role as confidante and best friend. He crossed his arms as he regarded his effeminate and sulking friend.
"I take it your date didn't go smoothly?"
Alto heaved an angry sigh.
"Alto-sempai, what happened?" Luca joined in, who was quite done and satisfied with his happy cheers and gloating of finally beating Michel. Alto glared at both of them.
"What are you guys?! A therapy group or something?!"
Michel clutched his chest as if he had been shot, "Ouch! That hurt! Sorry for caring, Alto."
Luca's eyes turned glassy and his lips were trembling. "…Sorry for being a bother, sempai," he muttered softly.
--And the award for best asshole goes to…
Alto groaned. He had been enough of a jerk for one night already—Sheryl Nome could attest to that. He offered his friends what he hoped looked like a sorry expression that reflected his honest remorse. He really sucked at apologies.
"…Sorry. Things didn't go very well tonight."
"Yeah, well we could see that, your assholiness," despite his words, Michel's playboy humor was in there. "So what happened? Did you scare the lady off with your devilish charm?"
Alto instantly remembered the kisses earlier and willed himself not to blush for whatever good that did.
"I didn't scare her off…"
"Pissed her off then, right?"
Alto let out a sigh, a wistful one. Michel whistled with amusement.
"Well, that wasn't too hard to guess."
"Michel-sempai…" Luca softly spoke with a tone that suggested a "You are so not helping" message and with furrowed eyebrows to match.
"Sure, sure, whatever," Michel waved his hand in nonchalance. He then refocused his attention back to the sulky princess, "so I guess this means you're not going to help the lady with the earrings, huh? That's good news for you, then. Now…if you could be as kind enough as to recommend me to her, then…"
"What? It would be such a waste to let a woman like that go."
Luca sighed. "You really are hopeless, Michel-sempai…"
"Hey! I don't want to hear that from a guy who openly fawns at a certain Nanase-san without shame."
At the mention of that name, Luca brightened like red Christmas lights in December. "N-no, I d-don't."
"I'm ashamed at you, Luca. At least I appreciate the female species with discretion."
How is bickering like a couple of kids helping me? Alto thought, as he watched his friends argue like elementary students in a playground (with one of them actually looking the part). His morose sigh went unnoticed, as the wheels in his head started turning on what his next step should be in regards to a certain strawberry-blond and her dogged determination to find a pair of earrings. He frowned in his thoughts. I know I can lead her to the earrings….but then what?
Sheryl Nome woke up to find her eyes slightly puffy from crying a river last night. Frowning, she stomped away from her reflection on the dresser mirror and made her way to the bathroom while cursing Alto's name, cosmetic bag in hand. In the sink, she performed her daily female ritual that would make her beautifully radiant for the whole day. Unfortunately, the ritual of beauty was taking longer than usual, considering the puffiness of her eyes. She was applying some eye shadow to help camouflage the redness, when she heard a tart knock on the door of the main suite.
"Mou, who could that be?" She wondered, as she stripped off her nightgown, carelessly throwing it on her bed. She put on her favorite blue dress with matching beret and white gloves. She was thinking of using a couple of accessories when the knocking intensified.
With annoyance, Sheryl ambled towards the door, kicking a few items lying on the floor with disregard.
"Yes, yes, hold your horses. Geez, don't you know that patience is a virtue—Alto!"
Alto greeted her with what looked like a semblance of a smile. "Sheryl."
Sheryl broke away from her stunned trance and fought off the giddy feeling of seeing Alto by reminding herself of last night and then giving him a rude glare. "What the hell are you doing here?" She hissed, opening the door a little wider, she didn't want him to think she was someone who was easily scared by hiding behind a door.
"I'm here because I'm going to help you look for the earrings," he said simply, his eyes traveled away from hers, taking in the sight of the room behind her. Sheryl suddenly felt self-conscious of her night gown on the messy bed, as well as the number of things spread on the floor. Much against her will, she cautiously looked over to the room and was completely horrified beyond belief when she spotted last night's underwear she had removed, taking center stage on the floor.
She slammed the door hard.
"It's rude to look into someone's room like that!" She admonished, her eyes staring at his boots rather than his face. She did not need a mirror to be aware of the fact that her face was probably ten times redder than a tomato.
"Umm….I d-didn't see anything…" Sheryl heard him stutter. Bravely, she pulled her view away from his shoes and stared into his face. His face was just as red as hers.
"Forget what you saw!" She commanded.
"I told you! I didn't see anything!"
"Yes, you did!"
"I saw nothing!"
"You know it's hard to pretend that I didn't see it, if you'll keep going on like that!"
"God…how embarrassing…" A mortified Sheryl buried her hot face into her hands. Alto shifted his feet uncomfortably.
"Umm…so…" a cough, "like I said, I'm here to help you look for those earrings of yours."
Thankful for the change in topic, Sheryl composed herself mentally before meeting his eyes.
"Well Alto, as I recall, I said I'd think about it."
"I still am."
"Look, Sheryl. I know you're still upset about last night and I apologize for that. But at the same time, you can't blame me for acting the way I did."
She arched a brow, "I can't?"
"C'mon Sheryl, be reasonable. You just drop in on me from nowhere, acting like we were long lost lovers and then conveniently ask for assistance on this treasure hunt of yours. With that, I am entitled to my own doubts."
"I've already decided to help you already. For now, that should be more than enough for you."
Sheryl felt very much like a cornered puppy and she did not like the feeling at all. But after listening to what he said, Alto made a very strong point. She did just drop in on him drop in on him unexpectedly and then sprung this surprise treasure hunt on him. Any sane man would refuse on the spot, but Alto actually tolerated her and even went to dinner with her and what's more—he ended up agreeing to her wild proposition. She secretly questioned if he was just doing this simply because she was Sheryl Nome. And he was afraid of whatever consequences would come if he rejected (consequences in the form of Grace O'Connor).
Then suddenly, it hit her.
Why was he agreeing to all this?
The whole time, he had been adamant of making her reconsider this "foolish" idea—but now...here he was and willing to aid her.
She realized she couldn't stop herself from asking him.
"…Why are you…?"
There was clandestine motivation in his eyes as he smiled at her.
"Just as I am entitled to my own doubts....", he said softly, "I am likewise entitled to my own reasons."