Hello there, and welcome to my silly little one-shot.
In short, this was inspired by watching a few too many episodes of TLC's "What Not to Wear," while playing AP at the same time. It was a ton of fun to write (mostly because Julius is a ton of fun to write for), and I hope you enjoy. Feel free to comment, whether you have praise, criticism, or just want to bash me for whatever reason. I'll be sure to reply either way.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harvest Moon, or any of its characters, settings, etc..
Julius was a man who loved mornings, because his mornings were always fabulous.
After brushing the sleep from his eyes, he tossed aside extravagant sheets to reveal his silken pajamas to all the world. His first strides were shaky - an embarrassing fact, though understandable as the man had just completed his ten hours of beauty sleep - but by the time he had crossed the room, he was pacing as though he owned both the world and the adoration of all who inhabited it.
He took to his mirror, and (as was usual) he was delighted by what he found. The man adored the way his violet hair fell after a good night of sleep; it was just another reason for him to be fond of the early morning hours. As a pale hand flipped through his bangs, Julius smiled broadly at his reflection. The multi-colored layers were just messy enough to be fashionable, and they seemed to frame his fine face to the point of perfection. He even went so far as to wink at himself, flattering the image before attending to his wardrobe. And why not, he pondered, since he was so sure that everyone was going to have their eyes on him anyways.
His striped shirt was tailored, and his crimson pants were chic. Together, in his not-so-humble opinion, the combination managed to make his natural hair and eye color absolutely radiant, or at least more bold than they already were. Accessorizing, next, was perhaps his favorite part of his perfect mornings; over half of the mahogany trunk was dedicated to a massive variety of the add-ons as a result. Complete with a furrowed thinking face, he proceeded to remove and brood over each piece at a crawling pace, only to wipe the fingerprints off before gingerly returning each one. Though every now and then, he would place an accessory aside, forming a small mound over time. The pile grew slowly like some sort of gaudy succulent, but finally Julius addressed the chosen pieces, and began to add each of them to his person, one by one.
The addition of narrow, silver jewelry matched his slender, more feminine features; these ranged from his body shape to the narrow point of his nose and everything in-between. A frilled scarf brought out the faint pink of his cheeks, and a belt with a pop of green drew attention to his admittedly attractive midsection. Finally, his clothing ensemble was completed with the addition of a fur-lined coat that Julius was particularly fond of. Perhaps this was because the ankle-length garment flowed and followed after the man's elegant strides like a servant would attend to a king.
Julius smirked at the thought. He always carried himself as though he were royalty, especially when the world weighed as heavily upon impressions and physical appearances as it did. It was with this bold mindset that the man walked with a strut through his home, as though the pathway to the door was a well-lit catwalk. It was those thoughts that let him adorn his narrow waist with his hands - posing, as though he were some sort of beacon of artistic light to the imaginary world in his mind. With a chortle, Julius finally smiled and grasped the doorknob, turning it with great satisfaction.
After all, he was fabulous, and it was going to be a fabulous day.
...So imagine his disbelief when he took that first step outside.
Not even a speck of crystalline blue was visible beyond the overcast of clouds. Just the sight of the grey mass could have given the most optimistic man a headache. The span of clouds was low-lying and heavy, and though the forecast did not call for rain, it appeared as though the blanket would collapse at any moment, giving in to the weeping of the miserable body overhead. As though the clouds had already been through a bout of sobbing, the air below was inundated with suffocating humidity. Already Julius's once-fashionable wisps of hair had begun to curl in repulsion.
Needless to say, it was not a fabulous day.
Julius frowned, crossing his arms with a pout as he reclined against the doorway. How unfortunate! Rarely did the man have such a fabulous morning (don't misunderstand; Julius is, of course, fabulous every day, but there are days where he feels particularly fabulous), but now nobody else in the world would experience the euphoria he had felt.
As if only to illustrate his point, the jeweler turned to find a strawberry blonde returning to his humble home in Flute Fields. With a bag of bread in hand, Chase proceeded with a sluggish gait. It was as though the weight of the dreary weather pulled upon his body, for even his head dipped with pessimism as he watched his feet take every painful step.
Julius could only sigh, for it was even worse than he had feared. "Chase," He greeted, though not with great enthusiasm. "Good morning."
"...Hm?" The man mumbled a response. "Oh, 'morning."
However, the jeweler had barely heard Chase's reply, and not simply because of his speaking volume. He had instead become distracted by the man's choice of wardrobe. The black shirt? Oh, perfectly fine - a fashion staple, even. Jeans paired with sandals? Eh... rather last season, but passable. No, it was the maroon apron that bothered Julius. In fact, it bothered him a bit too much.
"...Do you really have to wear that thing?"
The comment was clearly unexpected; Chase even stopped walking to face the flamboyant man. "What?"
"The apron," Julius appeared to be physically unable to mask his disapproving frown and furrowed brow. "Do you really have to wear that thing?"
"Julius, I'm a chef," The reply came complete with an irritated expression screaming, How stupid are you, exactly?
"But you're not cooking anything now, are you?" The jeweler summoned a devilish smirk when Chase did not respond. Clearly, he felt particularly clever for the comeback. "Come on, Chase. You're an attractive guy! Can't you take the grungy rag off when you're in public, at least?"
The strawberry blonde flinched as his acquaintance began to approach with a certain spring in his step. Circling him, Julius examined the chef's measurements, as well as the unfortunate apron he had opted to wear that morning. It was useless; no matter where Chase tried to step, the high-fashion man blocked his way. "No girl wants to marry a man bathed in flour, and today is dreary enough already. Castanet doesn't need a gloomy Gus in a purple potato sack! We need brilliant young people who know how to present themselves in order to brighten up life!"
After a chuckle, the jeweler concluded his riveting speech, "All you need to do is take that sad thing off. Though while you're at it, you could do for a new hairstyle as well. Lose the clips..." He leaned in close to whisper for a positively bombastic finish. "...They're a bit feminine, if you know what I'm saying."
Throughout the criticism, Chase seemed to be doing everything in his power to resist punching his pursuer in the gut. A grossly fake smile was plastered to his face, and a person could have easily spotted it twitching every now and then. "Tell you what, Julius..." His voice shook, "If you let me go, I'll think over all the..." The chef chose his words carefully, "...Helpful... Advice you gave me."
Julius stood blocking the way one final time, hands on his hips and everything. To top it off, there was even a musical, teasing quality to his voice. "You sure you got it all?"
"Yesss..." Chase was grinding his teeth.
And so Julius moved aside, but not without a new purpose and ambition burning within him. It was true that there was nothing he could do about the miserable clouds, but the day could still be a gorgeous one. It was perfect; the high-fashion man would give advice to anyone who appeared to need it. He would bring happiness and glamour to everyone, even underneath the saddest of skies. Almost as though he had been born to complete the task, Julius set off once more to begin his fabulous day.
That's right, the day would still be fabulous.
In fact, everyone would have a fabulous day - he would make sure of it.
Little did Julius know, however, that the next time he was to order any food from the Brass Bar, it was going to come vengefully undercooked.
Fabulous, elegant, royal, or not, Julius's stroll to the accessory store was uneventful. He paused briefly to add a bit of garnish to a low-lying bird nest ("On a day like this, even the animals need to be at their personal best!"), but otherwise, nobody else was up and about just yet. The jeweler did not pay much mind to this at first, as it gave him time to prepare his grand entrance into the quaint little store. But he did begin to feel irked after throwing the door open and posing in his grandiose manner, only to find the front room of the shop to be barren.
How lonesome... The man scowled while he crossed his arms once more. Making other people fabulous was particularly difficult without having other people around.
"Julius?" Like a puppy, however, Julius immediately perked up at the sound of his employer's voice. "You there?"
The flamboyant man immediately paced into the adjacent room. "Yes, Mira!"
"Great," He found the older woman surrounded by mounds of cardboard boxes. As though they were positioned to be a child's play-fort, the man could not see anything below the woman's waist. "Can you help carry this stuff to the display case?"
He had never been fond of heavy lifting, but since he was being paid to do it, Julius delicately rolled up his expensive sleeves and lent a reluctant hand. It only took the pair an hour or so to remove the dust-coated examples and replace them with new jewels, but both still seemed relieved to take a seat and rest after the job was finished. It took another hour of quiet, customer-free meditation before either of the two mentioned work again.
"We should get a start on the new collection," Mira's instructions were simple. So, as he always did, the purple-clad man retreated behind the counter to gather materials for the necessary crafting. While crouching to swipe a hand-full of metals, however, Julius froze. Eyes wide and mouth dangling ajar, he simply sat still.
What in the world had he just seen?
Cautiously, almost with dread, the man again tilted his neck oh-so-carefully to catch a glimpse of his employer's feet. As though the joint had suddenly rusted with age, however, Julius seemed to be unable to move afterwards; he was incapable of looking away, as though he were staring at some sort of catastrophic crime scene (And if a person were to have asked him, the jeweler would have undoubtedly replied that the sight was, in fact, a crime). Mira was contently shining a particularly brilliant piece of topaz, but she was oblivious to the flamboyant man and his horrified stare. For beneath her earthy, floral-print skirt, the woman was wearing legwarmers.
Legwarmers. Plaid legwarmers.
Then beneath those monstrosities, she was wearing socks that stretched to who-knows-how-high on her shins.
Socks. Polka-dotted socks.
And finally, to make the fashion crime comparable to first-degree murder, she was wearing bold, sporty sandals, with a brash color-scheme of bumblebee yellow and black.
A shin-length skirt, legwarmers, socks, and sandals. None of them matched, none of them should have seen the light of day, and none of them were even close to being fabulous.
Julius couldn't look away. Oh gods of fashion, he prayed, have mercy upon this poor woman's soul.
The man couldn't bring himself to answer, but Mira's words were enough to end his paralysis. He finally left the floor (even unaware of the dirt that now clung to his crimson pants) and moved to his workstation, but he was completely unable to focus. His eyes kept shifting, jittery and unsettled now with the knowledge of such a heinous offense in the room. The jeweler could barely even remain alert enough to avoid hammering, piercing, and burning his hands with his plethora of tools.
He bit his lip with discontent. This was different; on the street, he would have never had a problem confronting the mayor or some small child about such a fashion calamity, but Mira was his unfortunate employer. Life in Castanet was easy, but still not possible without a steady income. The concept that his career - no, his entire life and livelihood - was on the line kept the melodramatic Julius speechless.
Such an act, however, was incredibly difficult to keep up. No matter how much focus a chiseling or crafting project required, Julius still caught himself glancing at Mira's ankles time and time again. The silence was maddening - neither of them spoke, not for several hours. By lunch time, very few customers had come, and the high-fashion man was practically soiling his clothes with climactic sweat. Just a little longer... He pressured his body and mind, pushing himself to his absolute limit. But finally, Mira spoke, "Julius, could you pass me a tissu-..."
"MIRA WHAT ARE YOU DOING WHY ARE YOU RUINING YOUR LIFE!"
And it all went to hell.
At 2:00PM, Julius was strolling slowly by the beach to Harmonica Town. After his outburst and explanation, a bewildered, if not mildly amused, Mira decided that it would be for the best if her co-worker took a bit of a break that afternoon.
"I think you need to calm down..." The accessory store owner had decided only half an hour earlier.
"Only if you take those sandals off!" Julius had been strict with his demands, "You have such a bright future ahead of you!"
Unfortunately, he had been kicked out shortly after that. Perhaps he should have simply been thankful to have left with his job intact, but all he could dwell on was his failure to make the day more fabulous; he had never found out if Mira had heeded his warnings and advice.
The air was even more humid than it had been that morning. Julius could have sprinted into the nearby sea like a thirsty, two-legged sponge, but frankly, it probably would have been dryer than the overwhelming moisture surrounding him.
So why was he even walking around? Well, nothing cheered the high-fashion man up like the sight of a newly-stocked tailor store, and the one in Harmonica Town was no exception. Maybe a bit of time in his natural environment would do him some good, he had figured. Perhaps he would find just what he needed to bring happiness and glamour to all of the world, and finally make the day as fabulous as it could possibly be.
But as he stepped on the bridge, Julius paused, afraid of what he had found. A woman just a few years younger than him was hauling bags of trash outside of the tailor store, but the outfit she wore was what should have been thrown away. She boasted a ratty old shirt over a pair of paint-stained jeans, and with her normally floral pink hair tied back in a messy bun, Julius couldn't help but break into a run.
"Luna!" He called out, almost to the point of desperation. "What have you done to yourself!"
The girl jumped at first, obviously shocked by the sudden outburst of obnoxious noise. But after dropping the plastic bags to find Julius stumbling towards her, her face twisted into a scowl. Luna was entirely unsurprised by the source of the call. "Calm down, Julius..."
He cut her off, "Calm down! Look at what you're wearing!"
"Yeah," It was clear that the business woman hardly had time for the man's antics. "I'm resetting the display case out front, and I didn't want my clothes to get scuffed up."
Her answers were cold, with a rather impatient undertone, "Hey! At least my clothes don't look like your pants!"
What? His pants...? Julius glanced down at his precious crimson flares, and, just as Luna had jeered, they were wrinkled and coated with a layer of debris from work. He smirked; touché... Nothing less from the entrepreneur behind Sonata Tailoring.
"Now then..." Luna took advantage of the silence, "Scram."
Julius, however, had other plans. With a rather giddy grin, the man easily ignored the smaller girl and paced towards the store. "I want to see the new collection." He hadn't been around Castanet long enough to see the full life and death of a clothing season just yet, so he was rather eager.
"What? No!" The girl with bubble-gum pink hair rubbed her face as she groaned, even to the point of smearing wet paint onto her cheek. She didn't have a choice in the matter, did she. "Idiot... Fine. Don't touch anything."
The flamboyant figure had expected to walk in, look around, and get out fairly quickly. Julius considered his standards to be rather high, so he predicted that the venture would take a total of ten minutes, tops. It was a small shop in a rural town in the middle of nowhere, after all, so who really expected much? However, to his great surprise, the man did not even make it past the display case before stopping in awe. The winter collection... Sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, coats; they were all tossed about in the window space, not quite organized just yet. But even still, each piece was of a standard that went far beyond the point of amazing. The colors, the patterns, the masterful weaving of each of the garments... Julius could have looked on for hours with a foolish, beaming smile on his face. Everything was gorgeous. Everything was... /fabulous/.
"Who designed these?" Julius's voice was lofty, still under the influence of his fashion-high. "I must know!"
"Oh, Candace does all that." Luna was preoccupied, dusting an end-table just inside the doorway. "You remember Candace? We met when we were all kids."
At first, Julius just blinked at Luna. Candace... Face scrunching up with effort, he mulled over the name. It had a familiar ring to it, as though he had heard and spoken it several times before, but he couldn't match it with a face.
The girl took his silence as a no. "She's working in the back."
Without thanking her, Julius practically flew past Luna and through the crowded entryway. Candace... Candace... With all of his mental strength, he did everything he could to remember what the woman looked like. After seeing her work, the high-fashion man would have given anything to see her. And if he was not able to do so, then he would travel around the world, boasting of her absolutely fabulous work that could have brought warmth and beauty to the coldest of hearts. This girl, this Candace, she had the incredible talent to do what Julius only wished he could have done that day - to spread the euphoria of a perfectly fabulous morning to everyone, even on the most hideous of days.
He weaved in and out of racks, supplies, materials, and tables of all shapes and sizes, until Julius finally arrived at a door that was firmly closed. Yes... Finally! He was beaming, more than ready to meet the genius behind the wooden frame. So for the third time that day, Julius threw the door open and posed boldly in its wake, ready to be blown away by whatever he found.
"...You can't be serious..."
But also for the third time that day, he had been terribly let down.
Candace was indeed in the back room, weaving away at what appeared to be a sleeve of some sort. She had stopped, however, upon being interrupted so outrageously by Julius (a face she did not recognize), and looked back at him like a wounded rabbit would stare at a salivating wolf. She wore her usual attire; there was blue everywhere, from her baggy shawl to her checkered skirt, and it all seemed to match the cerulean locks that hid most of her face from sight.
"This has to be a joke..." Julius just stood defeated in the doorway, running a bewildered hand through his frizzing hair. "...You-... You couldn't have..." This Candace couldn't possibly have designed and sewn the fabulous clothes in the display case. It just wasn't possible...
"How?" He demanded, stomping like a diva to confront the bashful girl. "Look at you! You're dressed like an old woman! In fact..." The man paused, eying her floor-length skirt. "...You look like a senile grandmother from the colonial days! What's going on here!"
Poor Candace could do nothing but observe in a horrified silence, and it definitely did not help when Julius came close enough to tug accusingly at her unflattering garments. Seeing her stunned shyness only made everything worse. "You couldn't have made those clothes, because you're the least fabulous thing I have seen all day! Even your hair...!" The man took the liberty of moving the locks away from her face. "Your hair... And... You..."
Just like that, his tirade ended. Julius stood still for a moment, simply staring into the girl's frightened eyes before finally letting his hand fall limp at his side. He had been stunned into silence, complete with a faint blush of pink spreading throughout his cheeks to match the bashful red that Candace wore.
"Julius!" Luna entered the room in a fury, knocking some sense into him with her outburst. He should have known that someone would have heard his shouting. "GET OUT!"
To the surprise of everyone, the flamboyant man obediently turned and left. There was no fight, there was no spark, and there was not even a glimpse of immature rebellion in his face. Julius simply gave his good-byes, "Sure... My apologies for intruding," and walked out the door.
His entire evening was quiet - silent, even. It actually appeared as though Julius had taken Mira's advice on taking the night off. He walked home with an uncharacteristically normal posture (even slouching slightly), and did not even cringe at the sight of Hamilton's newest hair-do. As he closed the door to his house behind him, the man began to reflect upon the afternoon as he carefully removed his shoes and mound of accessories.
Candace... Her cerulean hair and clothing certainly did a fine job of hiding her features. After Julius had brushed it aside, however, it was as though fate had decided to reprimand him for his harsh words. Her face was like porcelain - fragile, yet flawlessly beautiful - and her perfectly pale complexion served as a stained-glass window, allowing for her emotions to shine through like the sun's warmest rays. Then her eyes... Oh, her wonderful eyes. Julius worked with jewels six days a week, and he had never seen a crystal that compared to their beauty.
And what had he done? Julius grimaced, feeling (perhaps for the first time) like a fool for running in and insulting her. He had claimed that she was the least fabulous thing he had seen all day, but now... He could barely fathom how wrong he had been. Back in a pair of silk pajamas, the jeweler exhaled a tired sigh, and finally retired to his bed.
Candace... No, she was not fabulous - she was far beyond it. And for once, Julius didn't want anybody to know. He smiled while closing his eyes; the world would just have to be at a loss, because he wanted Candace all for himself.
Oh, how fabulous the day had been.