A/N: I'M BACK! I'm SO sorry it took a year for this to finally get published, but I've been working on it in little chunks. Finally, where I want to go with this came to me. So, without further ado... Here is the next chapter!
And thank you all for your kind reviews even a year later to push me to keep going! You all rock!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harvest Moon or any of it's characters- just mine. : )
Chapter 18- Dangerous Interference
Julius lifted the fluffy, white cream from his fat slice of cake.
"Mmm- Candace, dear, this is simply to die for!" Candace blushed.
"Really? I'm so glad you like it…i-it's made with love," she replied sheepishly.
I rolled my eyes at the two newlyweds. They were still being all 'goo-goo ga-ga' over each other. I sighed at my small, unimpressive chocolate cake I attempted to bake from scratch. Taking a slice of Candace's strawberry shortcake seemed like the better option for a gift.
It was the Thanksgiving festival, and cakes were being baked every which way. The winter Thanksgiving was applicable to both genders- so if you didn't get any cake, you were a sad story.
I had already received two slices: one from Angela, and another from Candace, of course. However, I still had not received a piece from the one I was truly hoping for this year… I was getting ready to head over to the Town Hall to fix that.
"Julius, do you think Gill would prefer strawberry or chocolate cake?"
Julius stared at me as he finished his bite, looking pensive. "I think Gill hates cake, and all things that are sweet and pleasant for that matter." Candace gave him a little scolding nudge.
"That's not true! He is a big softy deep down! You just have to get to it-" I immediately defended. Although, I don't think I had seen Gill truly vulnerable since he was child. Those were times that no one else knew better than I did. I could say that I had seen all sides of him, and had fallen in love with each one.
"Then I'm sure your ever-observant self has picked up on how miserable he's been ever since-" He gracefully placed a finger over his mouth, seeming to think about his next sentence.
"What?" I tilted my head.
"Nothing. Silly me, going off like that. God, this cake is heavenly." He shoved a huge bite in his mouth and licked his finger.
"JULIUS! EVER SINCE WHAT?" I slammed my fist on the table. I could be very intimidating if I needed to be. Julius knew he couldn't weasel his way out of that comment about Gill.
He gulped. "Fine Luna, you win. To put it quite simply, ever since he met his dream girl at the ball." He smirked slightly.
My mind was reeling, until finally I put the pieces together. Like a puzzle snapped in place, I connected the picture. And like a loaded cylinder, I was ready to blow.
"His…dream girl at the ball was…"
Without another word, I headed for the door, but not before grabbing a piece of Candice's cake.
Third person P.O.V.
"M-maybe you shouldn't have said that. Luna can get scary…" Candace said slowly.
Julius put his palm to his chin, "If I didn't get the ball rolling somehow, they'd never admit their feelings for one another."
Candace looked thoughtful.
"Who will, though…?"
"It's not for me to know, my dear. I can only do my part. For all the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."
My hands still had a nervous jitter to them as I pulled the cake from the oven. The golden-brown surface looked mouth-watering. This scrumptiously delightful cake was causing way more anxiety than any sugary dessert should.
"Is it weird for guys to give other guys cake on this holiday? It's for both sexes, right? He can just accept it as a friendly gift...right?"
I sighed. I felt like I was asking myself these 'fine line' questions every day. After the ball, everything just seemed…weird between me and Gill. Sure, we still talked and acknowledged each other, but I couldn't help but blush or get nervous after what happened- especially when I was the only one that knew the truth. This of course, created awkward transactions between us.
My mind was already beginning to wander as those few moments replayed in my mind once more.
"Angela…it was wonderful to meet you,"
I could feel the heat spreading throughout my cheeks and felt my heart rate skyrocket when my phone rang.
I stumbled over to the table and brought the phone to my ear. "Hello?"
"Hey, Sis. Listen- don't hang up on me, ok? It's important."
I sighed, asking sarcastically, "How are you, brother dearest?"
"Look, Angela, I'm sorry about hanging up on you during our last conversation. You just seemed mad and, well-"
"Axel, it's fine. But I kind of need to know what you're doing. I can't keep up this- this charade." I thought about the words Chase had used earlier.
"I know, Sis. I'm sorry for putting you through this. On the bright side, my band did really well and landed a record deal starting next year! Isn't that great?"
"Terrific news, Axel. But what does that mean for me? Girls can't own a farm here, remember? I don't want to be a guy forever! It's…it's getting messy…"
"Ohhh I get it. You liiike someone don't you?"
"N-no! That's not- ….Shut up, Axel! That's not the issue! When are you coming home?"
"Well, that's what I was going to tell you. My band got booked to play at your town's New Year's Eve festival! Look out, Castanet, here we come!"
I nearly fainted with him on the phone.
"WHAT? Just how do you expect to do that? And that's all fine and dandy that you got a record deal, but how do you plan on running a farm at the same time if your band got signed?"
"Sis, you've actually done a good job, right?"
"Well-er…I guess you could say that."
"Then when you announce that you're a girl, they won't be able to help but keep you when they consider how great you've done!"
"And you think they'll just change centuries of tradition for my special case? I'm not THAT special, Axel! Why don't you think about more than five seconds in the future?"
"Angela, I'm so sure this will work out, that if they reject you….I will gladly step in and sell the farm."
"SELL IT? YOU'RE GOING TO JUST SELL IT AFTER OUR DEAL?"
"That WAS our deal, Sis. If my band got signed, I would pay for your college tuition…with the money from the farm. That's what you wanted, remember?"
I bit my bottom lip. That WAS what I had wanted… a year ago. I exhaled deeply.
"Give me until the New Years festival to convince them to let me stay. I'll be damned if I'm going to go to college knowing all of my hard work was sold for it."
"Hah, you better convince them by then, because they're going to meet your twin on New Years Eve!"
"Goodbye, asshole. Safe travels." I slammed the phone on the receiver.
It looked like my time to announce who I really was would be approaching quicker than I thought.
Okay, Angela, you can do this. Just keep walking and put one foot in front of the other. You're going to deliver this cake all the way to town hall, note and all.
My black boots crunched through the snow as I buried my nose under my turquoise scarf that Luna crocheted for me. Supposedly turquoise was 'my color'- so I was told. Nevertheless, I appreciated her act of friendship and the warmth. I wondered if she would still be my friend after all of this was over. I was grateful that she had kept my secret thus far.
If I had to expose myself on good terms to the Mayor, going through his son might give me some leverage. It was time to be honest with myself, and most importantly, with Gill.
I pulled open the huge, wooden door leading to the Town Hall and stomped the snow off of my boots. On the front counter was a tiny sign that said 'Out to Lunch'. Looking around, the entire office was deserted, including Gill's desk. I sighed in relief. Leaving this here without a confrontation was much easier.
On Gill's desk, I placed the slice of strawberry shortcake, along with a note explaining everything- my reasons for inheriting the farm, the ball, and the situation with my brother. It took a good five minutes to walk out the door without running back to retrieve it. Once I was outside, I trudged on feeling liberated.
Now he will know the truth by the end of the day. No more secrets; no more guilt.
I don't think anyone could have seen what was coming next- including myself. Typically, I had always been a relatively passive aggressive person when it came to conflicts. Never had I needed to get nasty about things-especially with another female. But this. Was. The. Last. Straw.
There I was, standing in front of Gill's desk in the Town Hall, about to present Candice's-I mean, my piece of cake. To my horror and disgust, there was already the same, exact cake staring back at me!
I immediately snatched the piece of attached paper to see who had the nerve to do such a thing, and sure enough, it was just as I had suspected.
My eyes skimmed over the fine, delicate handwriting at first, then quickly widened with interest.
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoy the cake- I did my best, but it's nothing special. I didn't write this note just to wish you a happy Thanksgiving, though. It's a little more pressing…
This is probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but I beg of you to listen to my whole story and try to understand. For the past year, I have taken my twin brothers' place on the farm and impersonated a male. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. We made a deal that if his band made it big, he would pay for my college tuition. Now, he fulfilled his part of the deal, and it's time for mine. If I don't convince the Mayor to let me stay here, I will be forced to leave and the farm will be sold. Because it would kill me to see the prosperity of the island leave like that, I am asking for your help. You're the only one that can have an impact on your Father's decision.
I should also mention about the Masquerade Ball. If you haven't put the pieces together yet, that was me. I should have told you right then and there, but I couldn't help living in a fantasy world; if only for one night. I only hope that you aren't upset with me enough to still treasure that memory.
I'm not at all suggesting that I should be worth your time and effort to keep me here… but every second was worthwhile to me.
Well, now you know everything. I've been completely honest and have no more secrets… except maybe one. We can talk more about all of this in person. Please meet me in front of the Lighthouse at 6 pm tonight, if it's not too much to ask.
She's actually telling him the truth! What is she thinking?
I physically shuddered at the last sentence. "If you can find it in your heart to forgive me, I won't let you down again. Love, Angela."
"Love"? When had all of this transpired? Right under my nose all along, that's when. Before my very eyes, she had been slipping her way in between my one true love and I. I had grown to love Angela as my friend- even seeking advice from her! And she couldn't even tell me how she was feeling.
She didn't understand what Gill and I had. We were expected to marry since we were five years old! All of the adults would always coo about how darling we played together and how wonderful it would be if we ended up together. If I let Gill read this letter, he might just fall for her- or worse- run away from the island and marry her! This just wouldn't do.
Angela, I'm sorry. You've been a friend, but when you come between me and Gill, I just can't stand aside and watch everything crumble to pieces.
It was time to take action. I quickly ripped up her letter into tiny pieces and tossed it, with her cake, in the trash can. Placing my cake gracefully in its place, I turned on my heel and walked out the door.
I decided it was time to have a little chit-chat with the Mayor about the future prosperity of the island.
A/N: Review! : )