Love Makes the World go Round
Disclaimer: I do not own Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town
'I don't know what to make of everything anymore. . . . If I don't tell you this now, I'll regret it for the rest of my life. . . . I love you, I've loved you for I'm not sure how long now. But, you don't love me, I know that you don't. It's not like I can blame you for that, after all I've only played the part of your best friend for the last three and a half-years, never daring to go further than that. . . . Maybe if I had, I'd be the one in your heart now and not her. But now, I guess I'm going to be the one left alone now, but . . . as long as you're happy, I think I handle being by myself. As long as I can see that you're smiling, it won't seem so bad. . . . Please, just be happy with Ann, and no matter what, please don't feel guilty about me.'
I set the pen I was writing with down, and stared at the stationary below me. Silent tears fell down my face as I lifted the letter up and folded it into thirds before placing it in its envelope. I sealed the paper shut after I'd licked the glue on the back of its flap. With an easy hand I picked the discarded pen back up and took to writing the name of its receiver on the front of it.
If I was right, he'd probably already proposed to Ann by now. After all, given what Duke had said to him, he would go and propose wouldn't he?
"Heh, Cliff is the type to only do something like that after getting someone to give him a push. . . ." I muttered, a sorrowful smile had worked its way over my lips.
More tears came then, it was my own fault that I was in this predicament, if I had been honest with Cliff about the fact that I'd fallen for him, then I could be the one he was going to propose to. . . . Three years, it would be four years soon since we met. And already the anniversary of my fourth year here had pasted, I'd moved to Mineral Town on March 23rd, four years back. When I'd moved here, I'd given up everything in the city for country life. Even when I found out that I had to completely revive the place, I still stayed because it felt like I belonged here. It felt like I'd finally found the place where I belonged.
It was a week after I settled into my life that I decided to fully explore Mineral Town for myself. Only then did I come upon the old church that sat half hidden in the very back of town, I entered it thinking that it might be abandoned or something from how old it looked! It was then I met Pastor Carter, I stayed there that day for some time chatting with the man. He was the first person in Mineral Town who I felt comfortable enough around to talk to, but right as I was about to say good-bye, that was when the church doors opened. . . . And in walked Cliff, he'd come to the church as he would every day to sit in the same spot he always did, to think about his life. Without warning Pastor Carter was introducing me to the guy, who seemed very startled by the whole ordeal.
After that, I was asked to come visit the church every day by Carter, he thought that I could get Cliff to come out of his shell some. . . . I did come back, but it took me an even week to get Cliff to speak more than a few words to me. Soon enough though, we were talking as if we were old friends. And things followed, I managed to get Cliff a part time job at the Winery so he'd be able to stay here in town. And . . . well, as time went on, we went to festivals together, as friends, so we wouldn't have to get stressed out over the issue of asking someone out, and we spent time together when we had time to kill. . . .
And somewhere in-between my farming, and everything I fell head over heels for the man. I was the one who'd managed to get him to come out of his shell, I got to see the wonderful person he was behind all that shyness of his. And he'd made me fall for him, the sadness in his past, the unknown kindness he possessed. . . . It all had made me love him.
Another tear slipped down my cheek, the ironic part of my ordeal right now was that I was going to tell Cliff about the fact that I loved him on the day that marked the anniversary of friendship. I was going to tell him tomorrow. Tomorrow was Saturday and he was off of work, I'd made up a picnic earlier today for the two of us to share have for lunch tomorrow, but. . . . It was on my way to ask him if he wanted to join me on Mother's Hill tomorrow that all of this became ironic.
Cliff was still at work in the Winery, it was about noon so he would have just gone into cellar. I'd hired the Harvest Sprites for the day so I could get the food for the picnic done early, so I had no work. . . . I opened the door to the cellar, Duke didn't mind me going in there when Cliff was at work in there since he knew how close the two of us were.
I'd ducked behind a barrel of fermenting wine when I saw that Ann was already talking to Cliff.
I was aware of the fact that Ann had feelings for Cliff. She'd told me so herself at one point. It was after I'd found him passed out in Rose Square in the Winter of my first year, she was aware of the fact that I was close to Cliff. For the two days that Cliff was in the Clinic after that, I came to visit him as soon as I finished taking care of my animals, and stayed until Elli told me that it was time to close up. It was on the last day that Ann had come to check on him too, but when she saw that I was already there she'd asked to speak to me alone outside. That was when I found out that her smiles and sweet cheerful persona was nothing more than a ruse. . . . As soon as we were in the clear of anyone seeing us, she'd promptly set her hands on her hips and glared daggers at me.
"Look you," she'd started, "I don't know where you get off by getting all lovely-dovey with Cliff, but you should back off."
I, of course looked at her utterly confused by the fact that she was showing such an attitude to me! "W-What. . . ? Ann, what are you–?"
"Don't play coy with me! Everyone in town can tell that you two are close!" she'd abruptly cut me off.
"Yeah we are, Cliff's my best friend Ann." I replied with a shrug.
"You need to back off of him, I've known him longer than you have and I like him!"
"Soo? Time doesn't matter, and I only see Cliff as my friend."
"I don't care, just stay away from him!" she yelled at me. She left me alone before I had a chance to respond. Of course I never heeded her order to stay away from Cliff, he was my friend. I would only leave him alone if he wanted me to, and unless that happened I was going to stay his friend.
Ever since then, I've learned to tolerate Ann's fake personality. Whenever I run into her in town while were around other people, like when we're at a festival, I put on a fake smile and pretend that I get along with her well enough. Even though her fake smiles make me feel disgusted, I act like I like her for Cliff's sake, because he himself doesn't know the truth about Ann, and he's friends with her too.
But . . . seeing her talking to him in a private area made me feel sick, she was way more daring than I was when it came to showing her feelings, and to top that off she liked Cliff. . . . But, I can't believe how stupid I was, it took me witnessing this whole ordeal with those two and Duke to see that Cliff could never see me as anything more than just Claire. . . . After seeing his face, and reaction to Duke's words I knew that he too, reciprocated Ann's feelings.
Still ducking behind that barrel I heard the whole thing, it started out that Ann had come to bring lunch to Cliff who'd apparently forgotten to bring his own. . . .
Ann was smiling at him sweetly while holding out a brown paper bag, "Cliff, you forgot to bring a lunch along with you today didn't you? I saw you bolt out of the Inn without anything, so I made you something to eat. Here you go!"
Cliff looked startled by this, "Thanks Ann. Sorry you had to trouble yourself with this though." he'd replied while taking the food from her, his face had turned a shade of red.
"Don't worry about it! It was no trouble for me at all, things are a little slow at the Inn so I had the time." she smiled one of her smiles that made me feel queasy. But what made me even more queasy was the fact that Cliff had started to bluch even more when Ann smiled at him. . . . The grip I had on the top of the barrel tightened to the point that my short fingernails were leaving marks in the aged wood.
That was when I heard the cellar door open again, and Duke entered. To keep myself from being seen I dug myself as far back behind the barrel as I possibly could, pushing myself into the wall trying to make myself as small as possible. Luckily for me, Duke wasn't the most observant fellow in the world so, thanks to the fact that I hid myself behind the barrel even more, he hadn't noticed me.
"Ah, Ann hello. I thought I heard you talking to someone out here Cliff." Duke said. I peeked back up over the top of the barrel now, since Duke had his back to the entrance and Cliff and Ann's attention was on Duke.
"Oh! I'm sorry to keep Cliff from his work Duke! I won't bug him anymore!" Ann cried out nervously.
"So Ann, what was your reason for coming here at this time of day?" Duke replied in his normal tone.
That was where Cliff had jumped into the conversation, "She was just bringing me lunch, I woke up late this morning and I didn't have a chance to get anything to eat, so Ann brought me something."
I couldn't tell what Duke's expression was exactly, but from his voice I guessed he was smiling, "That's very nice of you Ann, considering that you didn't have to do anything like that!" he paused and let out a light chuckle, "You know you two are more like an old married couple than Manna and I are!"
At hearing Duke say that and seeing Cliff completely shocked and embarrassed at the statement I was able to figure out that he really did have feelings for Ann. . . . Seeing his reactions to that made me tear up because I didn't want to think that Cliff might love her. . . .
Ann herself was also completely embarrassed, her face was flushed, "W-Well . . . ahh, umm. . . ." she was at a loss for words.
Cliff was still completely shocked by what Duke had said, "D-Duke!"
As calm as he always was he replied with a simple, "What?"
"I-I think that I should be getting back to the Inn to help Dad. See you later Cliff, bye." Ann said as she turned tail and quickly made her way for the door. At the rate she was moving, she didn't see me, her only focus was that she'd get out of there ASAP.
"Wait! Ann!" Cliff had shouted after her as she shut the door behind her.
While Cliff was still in shock Duke spoke, "She likes you Cliff, I can tell. You like her too, don't you? Why are you bothering to wait so long? If you want to, you can go propose to her right now, if you want to."
"WHAT?! Wh-what are you talking about Duke?!" Cliff half shouted.
Duke shook his head at Cliff, "Cliff you are like a son to me, you know? And I think that you and Ann would be a couple. . . ."
Cliff didn't deny any of what Duke had said, only he looked completely shocked.
"Well, Cliff it's up to you to decide what you want to do." Duke had said.
When I didn't hear Cliff denying anything that Duke had said, or that he only thought of Ann as a sister, that was when I knew it. I knew that Cliff loved her, that he was in love with her and I was the idiot for thinking that he could possibly see me as anything more than his best friend. Quietly, before I started to bawl my eyes out at this realization I opened the cellar door while I was on my hands and knees, and crawled out of there before I got to my feet and bolted back home. Which was where I had been ever since that happened. . . .
And I had been crying even since I understood that Cliff loved Ann. But, as much as I didn't want him to marry Ann, more of me wanted only to see him happy, even if that meant that I had to sacrifice my own happiness, it was something I was willing to do for him. That was why I wrote that letter to him, because at the very least, even if it did ruin our friendship, or make things awkward between us now, I had to let him know how I felt for him, before he was married and it was too late. I didn't want to have any regrets about not telling him how I felt, it was less regrettable to have told him than to have not.
"Okay . . . whoo, calm yourself down Claire. . . ." I said to myself quietly, trying to get my tears to stop long enough to go deliver this letter. After a few more sniffles and a couple of tissues I did manage to stop my tears.
"It's now or never I guess. . . ." I looked up at the clock that hung on the wall above my night stand, it was five o' clock now, meaning that Cliff was still at the church like he always was after work. Grey no longer shared a room with Cliff because he and Mary had been married now for a few weeks, so he lived with her. I grabbed my rucksack and stuffed the letter into it, and I bolted out of my front door. . . . I only had until six to get this letter into Cliff's room before he got back from the church. I knew I wasn't going to run into Ann because at this point in time she was probably down at the beach. After living in this town for four years, I pretty much had everyone's schedules down to a T.
I took to a jogging pace as I got to the main entrance of town, I typically would jog around town, people knew I did that because I was usually busy. So I didn't have much time to waste on getting around, and due to this they didn't bother me when I was passing through.
When I got to the Inn I made a beeline for the stairs while Doug had his back turned from the dining area. He knew that I knew Cliff's normal schedule so he'd wonder why I was going up to his room. . . . I couldn't tell him that I was in the midst of secretly delivering a letter to Cliff that contained the contents of my feelings could I? When I got up to Cliff's room, I pulled my letter out of my rucksack and tried to figure out where I should put it so Ann wouldn't find it, and Cliff would. I didn't have much time to think, so I decided to stick under the sheets of Cliff's bed. Putting it under the pillow was stupid, chances were that he wouldn't find it under there, so I pulled back the top sheet on the bed and stuck it there, so as soon as he pulled the blankets back to go to bed he'd see it.
But, before I placed it in said place, I looked at it and set my lips on it for just a moment. A stray tear made its way out of my eye and down my cheek as I did so, because I knew this was as close as I was going to get to ever kissing Cliff. . . .
"I love you. . . ." I muttered as I set the thing down and pulled the sheets back over the bed, making them look like they had not been disturbed so no one who know I'd been there. . . .
As soon as I did that I sneaked back out of the Inn, again while Doug wasn't looking. I was a lot sneakier than anyone in Mineral Town knew. . . . Something I was thankful for at times like these. As soon as I was back outside, I walked away from the Inn casually as if there were nothing going on with me. I decided to walk back to Blossom Ranch via the short route, which involved going past Chicken Lil'. As soon as I got home, I went straight to bed. . . . I wound up crying myself to sleep. . . .
I had also decided to not go into town the next day, I was just going to stay on my Ranch with my animals, and take care of it for the day. If I were to see Cliff, I would have a break-down, despite the fact that I wrote that I'd be okay as long as he was happy. So for now, I didn't want to see him, nor did I want to see any other human for the next few days. I had to cope with everything, that was something I had to do before facing anyone. And . . . I was afraid of how Cliff might react to the letter too I guess. . . .
I woke up the next morning as I always did, I blocked the thought that today marked the fourth year that I had known Cliff. I took a bath, got dressed and ate my breakfast like I always did before I went outside to water my crops and to feed my animals. The first thing I did though, was I let my horse, Eclipse, out of its stable. While I was working, my habits kicked in and my thoughts were all stopped, because I was so used to the routine of caring for my farm, it had become mind-numbing to do. . . .
I lost track of time while I was watering my Turnips and my Toy flowers, I didn't realize that some hours had passed in the time that I had been outside. It was only when I saw a familiar person walk onto my farm that I noticed that my watch read 10:27 AM.
I set down my Watering Can when I saw that Karen was leaning up against the side of my house. Karen was the girl in town that I was the closest too, I like Mary but I didn't like to read too much so I didn't go to the library hardly, Popuri was nice, but she was a bit to hyper for me to handle, Elli was always wrapped up in her work, and you know the story with Ann. . . . Though I didn't much care for the fact that Karen liked to drink way too much, she was very nice to me and she was calm and down to Earth. I could only guess as to why she had taken the time out of her day to actually come to the farm.
I took a handkerchief out of my pocket and wiped my hands clean of any dirt that might have built up from my work and I walked over to her.
"Good morning Karen!" I greeted the brunette, with a falsely cheery smile.
At my tone of voice Karen gave me a questioning look, "Man, you really must be bummed out."
And . . . she'd already read me like a book, like she was always able too. . . . "Am I that easy to read. . . ?"
"Yeah, when you've known someone for four years it's easy to read them."
"Hah. . . . So you know I'm not in a very happy mood, so why did you decide to come visit my little old Ranch?" I asked her, dropping the fake smile and tone.
"I know something's up with you and Cliff. You told me that you were going to ask him to have a picnic with you today on Mother's Hill right?"
I nodded, "I was going to but I have way too much work to take the day off. . . ." I lied.
Karen rolled her eyes at my words, "I don't buy that for a second, today I saw Cliff come in my Dad's Shop and buy something particularly interesting. . . ." she started.
"I think I can guess what he bought. . . ." I murmured.
"So then, you know that he bought a Blue Feather?" Hearing the words 'Blue Feather' made me feel like a spike had been driven though my heart.
I let out a nervous laugh, "Hah, so I was right. . . . So, he's going to propose to Ann today. I'm not surprised."
"I knew that something was going to be up with you when I saw him pick up that Feather! Claire haven't you told him how you feel yet?" Karen asked.
"I was going to do that today but," I paused when I realized what she'd said, "Wait!! What?! How'd you know that I like. . . ?"
"Claire, I've known you for four years, I can read you well. And seeing you with Cliff, I could tell something was up with you and him." she answered, crossing her arms.
"Ugh. . . ." I grimaced at her words, "Karen you're right. I do have feelings for him. And I was going to tell him about them today, but yesterday I realized that he loves Ann. . . ." I clenched my eyes shut to hold back the tears, "And I just want him to be happy. Even if that means I won't be, then so be it."
Karen groaned at my words, "Claire did you think that you might be wrong? What if Cliff likes you too, and you're missing your chance at happiness because you're assuming something?"
"Honestly, I did confess my feelings to him. . . . I wrote him a letter yesterday after I figured out I was not the one in his heart. I told him that I had loved him for a while now, but that I just wanted him to be happy. And I told him that if he loved Ann, then to be with her, and to not worry about me."
That was when I heard Karen smack her forehead, "Claire, then what if that Feather was for you and not for Ann?"
I looked up at her, unable to hold back my tears, "Karen if you'd seen what I had seen yesterday than you would know that there is no way that Cliff could love me."
She let out a huff at my words, "Claire I'm going home. I want you to come find me when you can start thinking clearly again, til then, see you later." And with that the girl took off to leave me and my thoughts alone.
And with her departure, I returned to my mind-numbing work. . . .
I worked until evening rolled around, I skipped lunch and I didn't feel like eating dinner. After I'd put Eclipse up for the night, I looked up at the night sky, it was as clear as ever and the moon was full as well. . . . Even though the Moon Viewing Festival wasn't until October, I figured that it wouldn't hurt to go moon gazing tonight. . . . It was a little chilly out so I grabbed a jacket to go over my overalls. I walked out of my Ranch and went straight for Mother's Hill. I didn't know how long I was going to be up there, but it was a good place to go to clear one's thoughts and it was peaceful.
On my way up the hill I heard a few howls from the Wild Dogs that were known to inhabit the area. . . . So I quickened my pace on the way up to the peak. . . .
"Oh wow . . . the moon's always so beautiful up here. . . ." I muttered quietly. I stuck my hands in my jacket pockets and walked over to the edge of the cliff and sat down to look at the moon. I only came here because of how quiet it was, I didn't think about the fact that this was the place that I was going to tell Cliff about my feelings. . . .
"I really am an idiot, coming to the place where I was going to confess my feelings. . . . I must really like to hurt myself." I muttered, I felt myself starting to cry for the umpteenth time in the last forty-eight hours.
I don't know how it was that I sat there, just staring at the moon like that, letting myself cry. . . . How long it was that I stared up at the celestial body without a single thought passing through my mind, I will never know.
Sometime that night, in those early morning hours I was snapped out of my moon trace by another's voice. . . . A voice I didn't want to here so soon.
"Claire? Is that you?" It was Cliff. . . .
My body went rigid at hearing his voice, slowly I turned my head around to look at him. "Y-Yeah it's me. . . ."
"What are you doing up here so late Claire?" he asked me.
"I could ask you the same thing you know, but I was just looking at the moon. . . . That's all. . . ." I answered him quietly, "So what are you doing up here Cliff?"
He walked over next to me, and sat down. "I-I couldn't sleep. . . . When I can't sleep I come up here."
"Mmm. . . ." This was so awkward, for all I knew he hadn't even read my letter. He could've just slept over top of it!
"C-Claire. . . ?" I heard him stutter.
"Yeah?" I looked over to him.
"W-Why didn't you tell me sooner. . . ?" In the light of the moon I could clearly see that his face was red.
"T-Tell you what?" I replied.
"What you wrote in the letter?"
"Ugh. . . ." I bit my lower lip at that.
I felt his hand on my shoulder, "Claire, why? What on Earth made you think that I wanted to marry Ann. . . .?"
I clenched my eyes shut, "Yesterday, it was yesterday. . . . I walked into the cellar just when Ann was giving you that lunch that she made for you, and Duke walked in. . . . You didn't deny anything he said. . . . And it wasn't like I'd ever said anything to you about how I felt, so I . . . I. . . ."
He looked at me confused, "Claire I don't remember seeing you in the cellar. . . ."
I nodded, my face turned red, "When I saw that Ann was in there, my instincts kicked in and I ducked behind a barrel that was next to the door. . . ."
He smiled at that, "You would do something like that. . . ."
"You must think me an idiot for all of this. . . ."
"Claire if you want to know why it was that I didn't deny anything that Duke had said, it was because of how shocked I was at what he'd said to me! Claire, I can't see Ann as anything more than a little sister. . . ." he muttered quietly.
"W-What. . . ?" I stuttered out.
He had a sad smile on his face, "Honestly Claire, I don't know how Ann feels about me, but I'm not in love with her. . . . She's not the one I love."
"W-Who–?" I tried to ask before I suddenly found myself in Cliff's arms. I still had unshed tears in my eyes, but now my whole face was red. "C-Cliff. . . ?"
"It's you. . . . Claire it's always been you. . . ." I heard him whisper. "You're the one I've always loved."
I let out a light gasp, and I felt myself tear up from shock. . . . "M-Me?"
"Yes Claire. . . ."
"Cliff . . . I love you so much. . . ." I said quietly, I rested my head in the crook of his neck and wrapped my own arms around him, returning the embrace. . . .
But, I felt Cliff suddenly pull away from me, his face was completely red. . . . I saw him put his hand in his pocket. I could tell he was nervous about something. . . .
"C-Claire. . . . I know how you feel about me, but I'm not sure about this. . . . B-But. . . ." he couldn't quite form the words, instead he just pulled his hand from his pocket and revealed what he had in it. . . .
"C-Cliff. . . ? A Blue Feather? Are you asking what I think you are?" I asked wide eyed.
He was still tongue tied so he only replied to me with a nod.
"Cliff. . . ." I said with a smile, without warning I hugged him. "Of course I'll marry you Cliff. . . ."
"Y-You will?!" He half yelped.
I giggled, "Yeah. . . . I'd be honored to."
"I'm so glad. . . ." he muttered, he wrapped his arms around me again. . . . And the two of us together looked up at the moon. . . .
A week later he and I were married, and Ann and I were able to come to terms with one another. She no longer hated me as she had before. And recently, a new person started to stay at the Inn by the name of Pete. He himself was a farmer, he'd taken quite the interest in Ann, apparently he was visiting the town from Forget-Me-Not Valley to see how I ran my Ranch. . . . But he really took a shine to her, and she seemed to like him too. . . .
It has been three months since Cliff and I were married. . . . According to Doctor Trent, we're going to be parents in about six months!
A/N: This is the very first time I have ever written a Harvest Moon story before, I'm hoping that this turned out well. I'm a huge fan of MFOMT, and I've been wanting to write a oneshot for it for a while now. I finally came up with an idea for one the other day and this is the end result of many hours of writing. Please review this and let me know how I did on this! And if it was good, then I'll write more one shots for that game! I'm even thinking about doing a series of oneshots for the game, each one with a different pairing. . . . Let me know if I should!