Summary: Sometimes, in order to be the good guys, one has to do bad things. She doesn't want to submit to that kind of reasoning, but given the circumstances, she has no other choice…
Disclaimer: If I owned it, I'd be making more episodes!
Yohji sighed in annoyance as he tied his apron strings. It was his turn to open shop and he was definitely not looking forward to it after last night. The mysterious woman's appearance had caused a ripple throughout the group. No one knew what to do or how to find her, and that only caused Aya to become even more infuriated. Yohji had never seen Aya so mad, not in all the time that he had known him.
Yohji stifled a yawn as he moved to the front of the store. Key's in hand, he unlocked the metal cover and pushed it up, allowing for sunlight to filter through the windows. Instantly Yohji shielded his eyes with his hand. His other reached out to unlock the front door and push it open, allowing for fresh air to roll into the room. Once his eyes had adjusted to the light, Yohji moved his hand away and was surprised to find Momoe accompanied by a gorgeous blonde woman.
"Well hello," Yohji smirked as he ran his eyes over the woman. She was wearing a set of shorts overalls with a bright pink undershirt. A pair of matching rain boots covered her feet. Black, fingerless gloves covered her hands. Long blonde hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail which brushed the back of her calves. She wore a pink bandana over her hair like a headband as well.
"Yohji," Momoe smiled as she sauntered passed the man. "Meet my niece, Serenity." The small woman moved to her favorite table and placed her precious cat upon it before turning to Yohji. He still stood in the doorway, eyeing the woman who had walked past him and into the shop. Her large blue eyes swept over the store, taking it in with appreciation.
"It's nice to meet you," Serenity smiled as her gaze landed on him. "Aunt Momoe has spoke highly of you and your friends." In the sunlight, her eyes seemed to sparkle like sapphires. Yohji could only nod before understanding sunk in.
"You're her niece?" He questioned. "Ms. Momoe never mentioned she had a niece coming to visit."
"It was kind of a surprise," Serenity shrugged her shoulders as a blush stained her cheeks a light pink. "I haven't had a chance to visit in so long, and an opportunity came up. I've decided to move back to the area."
"That's right," Momoe spoke up again. "I told her how you and the others bought my shop, but I'm sure you boys would let her help out while she settles down, right?"
"I wouldn't mind one bit, but you'll have to take that up with Aya," Yohji answered honestly as he walked closer to the woman. "Though, I have to say I'd enjoy working a whole lot more with a beautiful sight like you around."
Serenity laughed and waved off his compliment. "You're a charmer."
"Hey Yohji, Aya needs your help –" Omi stopped as he noticed that there was company. "Oh, it's you again." He smiled when he noticed who had once again found their way into the shop.
"Again?" Yohji and Moemo questioned in unison.
Serenity blushed in embarrassment. "I was here the other day, during that paparazzi craze."
Yohji lifted his hand to take off his sunglasses as he ran his eyes back over her form. He must have been really exhausted to have not noticed that she was the same girl from the other day. "Now I remember," He smiled while sliding his glasses back over his eyes. "You didn't mention anything about Moemo being your aunt then."
"Things were a bit crazy that day," Serenity smiled nervously. "Plus, I wasn't expecting so many handsome men to be running around the shop instead of my dear aunt." Her comment only helped to stroke Yohji's ego. He completely ignored the little voice in the back of his head, the one that whispered for him to be cautious.
"It was a very crazy day," Yohji smirked as he slid closer to her side. He was all but pressed against her.
"Yohji," Omi's voice was strained in warning. "Leave her be."
"No fun," Yohji grumbled as he finally relented and went to move some flowers outside as a display.
"Can I help you?" Omi quickly moved to assist Serenity.
"I was actually hoping to find a part time job in the flower shop," Serenity went straight to the point. "I just moved back into the area and thought maybe I could work with my Aunt Momoe. I didn't find out until today that she no longer owns the shop."
"I told her that she would have to talk to Aya," Yohji spoke between trips outside with handfuls of flowers. He gave Serenity a flirtatious wink as he walked back towards the door. She merely rolled her eyes at his antics and turned to the shorter boy called Omi.
"We have been busy lately, but I doubt Aya will agree to it honestly," Omi admitted. He hated to let her down like that, but given their undercover lives, it would be too risky. Even Omi had to admit that to himself.
"I understand. I'd just like an opportunity to reconnect with this place. I've been gone for a long while, too long." Serenity placed a hand on her Aunt Momoe, smiling fondly towards the old woman. Omi nodded in understanding, yet he couldn't help but catch the flash of guilt that crossed the woman's features. He brushed it off as guilt for having not visited her relative in so long.
"Aya had to step out for a while, but he will be back shortly," Omi moved to put on his apron. "You are more than welcome to stay here and wait for him if you like."
"Thank you," Serenity smiled as she followed Momoe to the table set up for arranging orders. As the two sat and chatted, Omi proceeded to help Yohji prepare things for the start of the day.
Aya sat in a chair next to his sister's bed. His dark eyes were narrowed in thought as he recalled the previous night. The mission had almost been compromised all because of some mysterious figure. He forced himself to concentrate on the female. She had remained in the shadows but her voice rang through his mind, mocking his inability to catch her.
Cursing himself, he turned his attention to his sister. His beautiful sister who was still unconscious. He ran a hand through her bangs, caressing the skin of her brow in a loving gesture that he rarely ever showed. No matter what, he would find that woman and put an end to her interference. Nothing and no one would stop him from finding a way to help his sister.
When Aya had returned to the flower shop, he was surprised to find another person there assisting with orders. His mind registered her familiar face as the one who had helped Sakura escape the crowd of paparazzi. Aya felt his eyes narrow in distaste while the blonde took it upon herself to help Omi with an arrangement of flowers.
He ignored the tiny voice in his head that acknowledged her talent with them. Under her touch, the bouquet seemed to glow with brighter life as she weaved the flowers into their proper place. Aya's eyes scanned the rest of the shop, Yohji was busy watching the blonde. Actually, it was more like he was staring at her.
"What's going on?" Aya questioned as he fully entered the shop and focused his attention on Omi and the blonde. They must not have been expecting him back so soon, because Omi and Yohji jumped at the sound of his voice.
"Welcome back, Aya," Omi greeted kindly.
"This is Aya?" The blonde questioned with a smile as she finished the arrangement she had been working on and turned to face the fuming red head. "It's nice to meet you. My name is Serenity." She held out her hand which had a few pieces of stray leaves that clung to her fingers. "Oops," She giggled softly as she wiped her hands off and then offered her hand to him once more.
Aya looked from her hand and to her face. His attention then moved towards Omi who blushed in embarrassment. "Why are you here again?" His attention was back on her.
"I came to visit my aunt and see if she would let me help her with her shop," Serenity took back her hand, ignoring how he had ignored the gesture that she had offered. "I didn't know that she had sold it to you and your coworkers."
Aya tilted his head to the side as his dark eyes examined her throughout her explanation. There was something familiar about her, other than the fact that he had met her when Sakura had been to the shop. Yet, when he looked at her face, something told him he was wrong, but he knew he wasn't. These conflicting thoughts were growing on his nerves.
His irritation reflected in his eyes, making her raise a brow. "Did I offend you or something?" She questioned as she moved to place her weight on one foot. Her arms crossed over her chest defensively as she looked at him for an answer.
"What do you want?" Aya demanded to know. He was tired of standing here and talking with her. He had more important things to worry about, like that woman from the mission. The thought of her now caused his mind to tingle. Something about that woman….
"I just moved back to the area and haven't managed to settle back into the flow of things," Serenity shrugged her shoulders. "I need to get settled but I need to start working again. Love and potato chips won't pay my bills. I asked Aunt Momoe if I could help her out, but she said I'd have to talk to you."
"Momoe?" Aya questioned with a raised brow.
"Yes, she is my aunt," Serenity nodded. "Is that a problem?"
"She's never mentioned you before," Aya's eyes bored into her own, searching for answers that she would not give. "The only family she's ever mentioned is that cat of hers."
Yohji chuckled from his position at the register.
"Like I said, I've just moved back in the area. I've been gone for a while, but I did miss this place and my aunt," Serenity stressed the last word. "So, back to the point, I'd like to help out around here if you all need it until I can get back on my feet. After that I'll be glad to get out of your hair."
"No," Aya answered while shoving past her. Serenity's mouth dropped open in shock.
"Excuse me," Serenity turned quickly to follow him. Her hair spun after her, nearly slapping Omi in the face accidentally. "You're not even going to think this over?" Serenity demanded. She had to take long strides to catch up with his fast pace.
"No," Aya responded while moving to a door that said 'Employee's Only.'
"You're friend said that you could use the help," Serenity countered while quickly moving to cut the guy off. "I'm not asking for a permanent job or anything, just a chance to keep my head above water for now."
"Aya," Momoe called as she came closer to the fuming red-head. "It would mean a lot to me if you would consider it." The old lady spoke softly as she placed a hand over Aya's hand. She squeezed softly, catching the red-heads attention. "Serenity is a good girl. She won't be any trouble, I promise."
"Are you really going to say no to an old lady?" Yohji questioned. It was obvious that the blonde found this whole situation to be oddly humorous.
Aya sighed in annoyance before finally agreeing. "This is only temporary. If you break anything or cause any trouble, you're done. I won't put up with distractions, understood?"
"Sir, yes sir," Serenity spoke. She tried to hold back the sarcastic bite to her words, but couldn't.
"Now move aside," Aya physically shoved her aside, nearly sending the girl falling. Serenity caught herself with the help of the wall. Her eyes followed Aya's form until the door hid him from view. "Well isn't he a bowl of sunshine?"
"Babe, you have no idea," Yohji laughed as he tossed her an apron. "Let's get you trained, shall we?" He gave her one more wink.
"You better keep your hands to yourself," Serenity warned as she slid the apron over her neck and started to tie it around her waist.
Serenity's influence on the shop had been troublesome at first. Many of the fan girls had not been pleased with her sudden appearance. Several had tried to start trouble so as to get her fired. Somehow, however, everything that they did seemed to blow up in their faces. They couldn't understand it. No matter what they did nothing seemed to work. One girl went so far as to try and shove Serenity into a huge shelf of potted plants. She'd planned it all out, but when she got close enough to the her, Serenity had quickly moved out of the way. It was almost as if she had been expecting it.
"Careful," Serenity smiled politely. "It's not safe to run around here. You could easily trip and hurt yourself." She let her hand fall away from the younger girl's shoulder. It had been the only thing to prevent the girl from colliding with the shelf herself.
After the first couple of weeks, though, things started to go smoothly. Even Aya had to admit that her presence had spawned a new group of customers. Apparently the fan girls had been complaining about the new co-worker to their friends and schoolmates. Now there was a large clientele of boys to the shop. They would come to see her and almost all of them would walk out with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
Another interesting fact about Serenity was how she was able to understand the clients and their needs. She was very compassionate and did everything she could to help each customer that came through the door. Word of mouth in regards to her kindness also helped to create more business for the boys. They had to start opening earlier and closing later.
"We have to go on a run," Omi stated as he and Ken walked through the door with an armful of flowers. "We'll be back soon." He smiled towards her. "Do you think you can handle everything on your own?" He questioned.
"Of course, take your time," Serenity smiled and waved away the boys. Right now it was slow. Sundays were the slowest days for the shop according to Yohji. As soon as the boys were out the door, Serenity folded the magazine in her hand and laid it on the counter. Reaching down, she withdrew her laptop from her large bag and turned it on. Once it was loaded, she quickly began to type away, pulling open several files she had downloaded onto her computer.
Since getting this job, she had made it a point to take her time in understanding the happenings of the world. She had been doing research on every lead she could gain. Many of these leads came from the news or from missions she had assigned to herself. After nearly being caught that one time, she had taken it upon herself to be more careful. She had reserved herself to watching the group of men, the same men of whom she was working for.
It hadn't taken her long to figure it out, especially with the aid of Central Control. She was honestly surprised at their ability to fight as well as they did. They obviously knew a lot about the enemy they were facing, the same one she was trying to find and stop as well. She had occasionally humored the idea of making an alliance with them in Cosmos' form.
Then again, considering how unstable the group was, she doubted that would work. Each man had talents which aided the group, but it was the shadows from their past that would pull them apart, especially the leader, Aya. She had hope that by keeping this job that she could form some sort of bond, or, at the least, figure them out better. Maybe, if she did that, then she would be better able to work with them.
The door to the shop rang, and Serenity quickly shut the lid of her laptop and placed it in her lap. She looked up to find a tall man with dark hair and eyes. His glasses flashed in the light that shone through the windows, and for some reason, Serenity felt an eerie chill when regarding him. There was something to him, it clung to him like a second skin, and it called out to her in familiarity.
"Welcome," Serenity smiled politely while standing. She allowed her laptop to rest on her seat. "Is there something that I can help you with today?"
"I came to place an order," The man reached into his breast pocket and retrieved a folded piece of paper. He handed it to her, and when her fingers grazed his, she felt a shock. She locked gazes with him, but his eyes seemed distant for a few seconds. When they refocused, he regarded her with curiosity.
"I can have this ready for you in a few moments if you would like them now," Serenity spoke as she quickly read over the order. She looked back up to the man when he did not answer her. He was watching her closely, so closely that Serenity felt uneasy.
"I'm unable to wait," The man finally spoke as he reached for his wallet. "Please deliver them to this address," He pulled out a business card as well as a large wad of cash and handed it to her.
"Sir, this is too much," Serenity tried to argue, but he ignored the money she tried to hand back to him. "The rest is tip." He spoke quickly before turning to leave. "I expect them to be delivered in three hours," With that said, he walked out the door and to the car which was parked in front of the store.
Serenity watched him go and, once his car was out of sight, she rubbed her hand. That shock she had felt from his touch was troublesome. She could have sworn that a part of her, a small part, had recognized and answered to him. Little did she know, but the man felt the same.
Dun Dun Dun! Okay, I apologize for the wait as well as the incredibly short chapter; however, life has been very hectic. The reason for the shortness of this chapter is due to what I have in store for next time. I did not want to try and squish it in all at once. I was afraid that if I did, I would cut out some very important details for the next part. Not intentionally, of course.
I hope you all enjoyed this update, regardless of the length. Does anyone want to take a shot in the dark as to who it was that she just met? Or what will happen next? I bet you can't guess!
I am in the middle of trying to give quick updates to several other stories, thus the shortness of this update as well. Sorry about that. Anyway, I do hope that you take a moment to leave me your thoughts on this chapter. It doesn't take long and it's really easy. Just type a few words in the box below and hit send.
How easy is that?!